I wish there were an i-App like iTunes, iPhoto, etc for organizing research papers. Something that I could add keywords that would be linked into Spotlight, and one could sort by journal, topic, authors, and maybe give ratings (you know you've read papers that are 5-star, and some you wish you could remind yourself never to read again by giving, oh, maybe negative stars!), oh, and most importantly link directly to the pdf of the paper. I'm not particular fond of the i-everything naming scheme, but a program organized like Apple's iLife apps would be fantastic. My current system of folders works ok but breaks down when I have papers that fall in multiple catagories... and I have this burning desire to rate papers these days.

Does anyone know if one exists (that doesn't involve inputing all data manually)? If not, anyone wanna write one???


StyleyGeek said...

I'm not sure if there's anything exactly like this, but have you tried Zotero and/or Cite-u-like? They don't have all the features you want, but might be a good base for building that sort of system on...

sab said...

Thanks styleygeek!

Both of those look interesting, I'm definately going to try them out! I was looking in the wrong places... I was thinking an application (which would have to be for Mac) not so much a plug-in or web-service... but of course this works out better for retrieving citation info!

Anonymous said...

I got to your post from the grad carnival.

I use bibDesk. I think it's only available for mac. It formats everything in bibtex files which interface directly with latex. It allows you to import files from pubmed (which I don't use) and the imports are getting better so you can import from more and more things. It links your references to files save on your machine and to files on the web. It allows keyword searching, annotations and abstracts. And ofcourse, it's free!

sab said...

Thanks for the Bibdesk recommend. My husband uses it to keep track of all his references and he likes it quite a bit. I tried it once, but there was too much manual input involved for me. It would take me weeks just to deal with the papers I already have. I think it's a useful program, but overall I found it was adding to my work load.

I've also considered "EndNote" since my school has a site license for it... any impressions of it? I don't use Word for anything anymore, I'm LaTeX all the way now, so between the Mac issues and the BibTeX issues, I've been reluctant to sink time into getting it working.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

I use EndNote. The newer versions allow you to link to the PDF in your hardrive, or even to link to a website. It does have a keyword field, and it works great with Spotlight. You can theoretically import citations (like from PubMed), but I haven't really figured out how to make that work well, so I input all of mine manually. It works pretty well with Word, but I think it will also work with some other programs (not sure).

Jim said...

I'm been playing around with Devonthink, which allows you to easily import and manage PDFs, web pages, Word docs, and a bunch of other formats.

You can just use it as a filing cabinet, applying tags to individual files and organizing everything into folder, but the program also makes connections between files based on content that you might not have expected and also works as an outliner. I don't know if it has a rating system, but I think you could apply tags for that (1*, 2*, 3*).

Here's the product website: http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink/index.html

And here's an author's account of how he used it that sounds pretty cool: http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/movabletype/archives/000230.html

Academic Lifehacker said...

I recently blogged about a piece of software called Papers, which looks like iTunes for research papers. I'm sadly without a Mac, so I haven't tried it out myself, but the website looks promising: