I read it for the articles. No, really. Just help me find them again.
April 12, 2007 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find a way to electronically organize my magazine article collection.

I read a crazy number of magazines and have a habit of pulling articles out to save them for later. So far, they're just filed away on paper but I'd like to organize them electronically and I'd like to store them online if possible (and if I could do it without making them searchable so as to avoid any copyright problems).

I've looked at various academic bibliographic reference managers but none seem quite ... friendly?... enough or have exactly the features I need (or are prohibitively expensive), particularly the one below about uploading the document itself.

Features I'd like:
- ease of citation entry (I would probably have to enter these manually as the cites aren't coming from dbs)
- web-based, though I will consider local software I'd like to be able to access this info from anywhere if I can
- ability to create both URL links to articles (some of what I read it on the web) and to stored PDFs (which I'd upload and preferably not make searchable outside of my domain) - sometimes both
- tags or keywords
- ability to customize the interface display. Since most of what I'm saving are magazine or literary journal pieces some of the citation fields for scientific literature aren't useful to me
- ability to enter in some kind of abstract

So far the closest one I can find to fit my needs is RefBase and while I'm not keen on installing and maintaing the software I have a hosting package that might let me do it. If anyone has any experience using this, I'd be glad to hear of it. I've read the other threads on this I can find but they seem geared more towards the "scientific literature" needs of academics than my own "now what did I do with that article from Vanity Fair...?" more writerly needs.

I guess I just hope that someone has made a super simple, clean interface "writer's" version of the Endnote for less than $100. Well, have they? Or is there some other solution I'm not thinking of?
posted by marylynn to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you're using Firefox 2, Zotero. If you're on a mac BibDesk. Both free open source software.
posted by singingfish at 6:18 PM on April 12, 2007

Argh. Didn't quite rtq. Also CiteUlike and Connotea might do what you want to an extent.
posted by singingfish at 6:19 PM on April 12, 2007

have you heard of scanalog?
posted by cda at 6:36 PM on April 12, 2007

Best answer: You might also want to check out DevonThink

The "Pro" version even does optical character recognition for scanned-image pdfs, i think.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:24 PM on April 12, 2007

You might even be able to create a simple spreadsheet with Google Docs. You can create columns for each descriptive field and also add hyperlinks to the documents you have stored on your domain.

Google Docs doesn't have a database program yet, but there are several other web-based Microsoft Office-type suites available for free or very cheap. Maybe one of those has a MS Access knockoff, which seems like it would be perfect for what you need.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:30 PM on April 12, 2007

Response by poster: I'm going to check out Zotero more. It doesn't do exactly what I want but it is pretty close. Right now it seems to be computer specific (yes, you use it on the web, but the data itself is stored locally) and you can only use it on different computers by using it on a USB drive. However, they say they'll be providing a sync ability soon which would be very good for me.

I also marked DevonThink because while it also isn't perfect I think there may be some other features that outweight it's local computer (for me) negative. Unfortunately my main computer right now is on its last legs and I'm hoping to avoid buying any more software for it until I can replace it.

Both my work and home computers are Macs, if that makes a difference to anyone looking to add an additional reply.
posted by marylynn at 9:46 AM on April 13, 2007

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