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dropbox to store and organize articles?


spectastic

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how do you guys organize your articles? I've been using mendeley, and the more I use it, the more worthless it has become to me. dropbox does everything mendeley (free version) does, and you can save directly to a folder on your pc, instead of the desktop. I also like the fact that you can pull directly from dropbox on your tablet, and use xodo to highlight stuff, and edit it in more ways than mendeley ever could.

I like dropbox right now. what about you?

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I use Mendeley for exactly what you are doing with Dropbox. I save all of my Mendeley articles directly on my PC and it automatically syncs with all of my other machines. I have the Mendeley app too for use on tablet and phones. 

For me, the reason why I prefer Mendeley over Dropbox is that I don't have to worry about how to organize my articles. With the dropbox method (what I used to do), I had to manually organize each one and if I want to change the format, it's a ton of work. With Mendeley, I get a searchable database and with a few clicks, I can reorganize all of my folders and files. I also never have to actually search for a PDF in the directory, I just use the Mendeley database. And the second reason is that Mendeley automatically creates the metadata I need to generate reference lists for my own work. I've not written a bibliography by hand since I started Mendeley.

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I use BibDesk to organize my articles. It allows me to search by author/journal/year, etc, and I can also save notes on papers I've read. When I save papers through BibDesk I have it set up so each paper is given a title that is a combination of last.name+year, and the paper itself is saved in a special Bibliography folder I've created in dropbox. Inside this meta folder I have a folder for each author (based on last-name), so it's easy to search directly in dropbox, though I almost never do. I just find my articles through BibDesk, it's fast and easy. Because the .bib file and the actual articles are on dropbox, it all syncs across computers, too. It also creates all my bibliography entries in all my papers, I haven't done that manually in years. 

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1 hour ago, spectastic said:

how do you guys organize your articles? I've been using mendeley, and the more I use it, the more worthless it has become to me. dropbox does everything mendeley (free version) does, and you can save directly to a folder on your pc, instead of the desktop. I also like the fact that you can pull directly from dropbox on your tablet, and use xodo to highlight stuff, and edit it in more ways than mendeley ever could.

I like dropbox right now. what about you?

What do you mean, on your desktop? If you tell Mendeley you want it to store on your desktop, it will, but I send mine to my documents folder on both my mac and PC, and it organizes it in folders by year, and then within the folder by first author's last name. Mendeley does everything for me that you're doing on dropbox in a really painless manner... and it syncs across the four computers I use for me. In addition, even if I just save the PDF with a weird name, it'll go find the PubMed ID and other important information for me.

I've used Zotero, and even Endnote, and I find that as far as citation managers go, I still prefer this Mendeley. I haven't reached the point where I have more articles than my free space allows, but when I do, I'll probably be willing to pay for the space. Plus I don't have to make my own references pages as it allows me to cite as I'm writing the paper.

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I OCR articles that are not already OCRed then store them in course specific folders in Google Drive. Additionally, use reference management software (pick your poison, a lot of options are great).

I've really grown to love OCRed articles. If I can't remember the exact title of an article, I can type keywords into the search bar in Drive and locate the article. For example, if I knew I read something about eugenics in China, I search for those terms and Drive searches the text of every single PDF and returns relevant results. Very handy.

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8 minutes ago, Neist said:

I OCR articles that are not already OCRed then store them in course specific folders in Google Drive. Additionally, use reference management software (pick your poison, a lot of options are great).

I've really grown to love OCRed articles. If I can't remember the exact title of an article, I can type keywords into the search bar in Drive and locate the article. For example, if I knew I read something about eugenics in China, I search for those terms and Drive searches the text of every single PDF and returns relevant results. Very handy.

I am really glad that my subfield is so new that >80% of the existing articles on it were written after the main journals make all of their text in the PDF searchable. It's only rarely that I have to go to a pre-2005 (ish) article that is indexed as a scanned version of the printed article! (The main journals in my field are electronic-only!)

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4 minutes ago, TakeruK said:

I am really glad that my subfield is so new that >80% of the existing articles on it were written after the main journals make all of their text in the PDF searchable. It's only rarely that I have to go to a pre-2005 (ish) article that is indexed as a scanned version of the printed article! (The main journals in my field are electronic-only!)

 

That's pretty handy! :) 

Even for me, the majority of my reading material is either from the 19th century (i.e., already scanned and OCRed) or more contemporarily published. That said, I've invested in good OCR software because I have poor vision, and the good software certainly isn't cheap. I think I paid around $200 for my software.

 

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I guess google drive is another option. 15gb storage compared to 2 free gb for dropbox. the main thing I want to do is to be able to highlight stuff in the pdf form, and when it saves, have it sync with my collection. mendeley can be used when it's time to write a paper.

good to learn about the mendeley desktop. I didn't know they had that. 

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2 hours ago, spectastic said:

I guess google drive is another option. 15gb storage compared to 2 free gb for dropbox. the main thing I want to do is to be able to highlight stuff in the pdf form, and when it saves, have it sync with my collection. mendeley can be used when it's time to write a paper.

good to learn about the mendeley desktop. I didn't know they had that. 

Mendeley Desktop does exactly what you want Google Drive to do, and you won't have to switch to a different interface when it's time to write a paper. I know I'm a broken record at this point, and I don't necessarily think you even have to use Mendeley. But my advice is to pick one single platform to do everything. It will be a lot easier in the future, I promise!

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On February 22, 2017 at 4:28 PM, fuzzylogician said:

I use BibDesk to organize my articles. It allows me to search by author/journal/year, etc, and I can also save notes on papers I've read. When I save papers through BibDesk I have it set up so each paper is given a title that is a combination of last.name+year, and the paper itself is saved in a special Bibliography folder I've created in dropbox. Inside this meta folder I have a folder for each author (based on last-name), so it's easy to search directly in dropbox, though I almost never do. I just find my articles through BibDesk, it's fast and easy. Because the .bib file and the actual articles are on dropbox, it all syncs across computers, too. It also creates all my bibliography entries in all my papers, I haven't done that manually in years. 

I use something similar to this. 

I use Endnote to manage references, and give a numerical label to each new reference I add (it gives a unique identifier, and lets me figure out approximately when I added the reference to my library). 

All my files are in a single folder in dropbox with the reference number, first and last author, year, and a handful of keywords. 

I can either easily search for a single entry, entries by authors, years, or keywords in dropbox, and I have them organized for more detailed searching in Endnote. 

Since nothing I've found is perfectly cross-platform, having my articles in dropbox lets me pull up any article on my phone/ipad when I need it, or on any computer where I have internet connection. 

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1 hour ago, spectastic said:

I'm using mendeley desktop now. thanks for that suggestion btw.

the desktop is much better than the browser version

I'm glad you like it. Another grad student told me about Mendeley on my first day of grad school and it is one of the most useful things I've learned!

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Disclaimer: I'm in a book-heavy rather than article-heavy field, but I use a custom notecard format and save info about books I read in Evernote. It also syncs across all platforms, and allows me to have the book's bibliographic information, my notes taken while reading the book, and any articles or reviews on it all attached to the same document, which I can give an unlimited number of keyword tags searchable across the Evernote program. I tried Zotero, but it's really only great for the bibliography and not so cool for whole books, even if they are scanned PDFs or even worse, ePubs that can't be read or tagged through any program but Kindle Cloud or iBooks.

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On 3/2/2017 at 7:45 PM, spectastic said:

I'm using mendeley desktop now. thanks for that suggestion btw.

the desktop is much better than the browser version

I was so confused at the beginning; I was like, "Wait, how can you NOT like Mendeley?"

It all makes sense, now! Bonus: If, like me, your PI wants to write a paper with you and insists you use Endnote (which he bought for me), you can easily export Mendeley annotations to Endnote. I only had to fix a couple of them to cite along with him.

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  • 1 year later...

Bumping this topic.  I've asked my university, and the department doesn't have a particular citation manager they prefer.  So that's the good news.

 

I was using pure Evernote, but I'm not a huge an of having to go through and self-generate citations, then also worry about them getting f'd up due to formatting.  I like Mendeley, but I don't like the idea of having to pay $165 a year to use it in the long run.  I was going to point Mendeley to Google Drive and store PDFs that way, but I gather that if I do that, I won't be able to use Mendeley to notate things on my iPad, and the ability to take notes on my iPad is also a personal requirement.

 

Do one of the other citation managers have all those features?  Specifically:

- Accuracy in citations

- Storing PDFs

- Highlighting/taking notes on those PDFs from an iPad

- Either a reduced annual fee, or no annual fee

 

 

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12 hours ago, E-P said:

 I like Mendeley, but I don't like the idea of having to pay $165 a year to use it in the long run.

Wait, what? I've used Mendeley for 7 years and never had to pay. 

I checked out the website (i haven't logged in for a long time) and learned it looks completely different now that it's been bought out by Elsevier. You still get 2GB free though and I did a check: I have 1.6GB used after 7 years of collecting papers. So, at this rate, I will probably be okay for another 2 years or so.

If they haven't changed their model then I will probably switch though. I am not giving money to Elsevier! (To be clear, I am happy to pay for a quality product and our research group pays for things like Slack, ShareLatex, etc. but I really despise Elsevier's practices).

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2 hours ago, TakeruK said:

I checked out the website (i haven't logged in for a long time) and learned it looks completely different now that it's been bought out by Elsevier. You still get 2GB free though and I did a check: I have 1.6GB used after 7 years of collecting papers. So, at this rate, I will probably be okay for another 2 years or so.

 

That's fair.  I'll admit that I have no idea of the relative sizes of PDFs over time.  Would switching be a big enough PITA that it's worthwhile to do something else from the get-go?

I've heard that some advisors require their students to use a particular citation manager or another - have you ever heard of a department forcing a similar requirement on its staff?

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1 hour ago, E-P said:

That's fair.  I'll admit that I have no idea of the relative sizes of PDFs over time.  Would switching be a big enough PITA that it's worthwhile to do something else from the get-go?

I've heard that some advisors require their students to use a particular citation manager or another - have you ever heard of a department forcing a similar requirement on its staff?

Maybe years ago it might have been different, but I think most software makes it pretty easy to switch from one to another. They do want you to be able to change from another provider to theirs anyways. I am pretty sure in Mendeley that you can export your annotation into the PDF itself (but by default, they are not saved onto the PDF itself). 

Many schools now also provide free subscriptions for their students, staff, researchers and faculty to many of these services. At my grad school, they paid for premium access to many other similar services. If you are forced to use a certain software, it is likely because the school provides it for free. 

A lot of the premium software is, in my opinion, worth it. So if you can use whatever your school provides for free, it can really make your life easier. The tricky part is after you graduate, you may not have the same premium access. But by then, you might have your own funding or be able to afford it yourself, maybe! In any case, it's a problem for future-you to worry about.

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I use Zotero. I pay for extra space but I only pay $20/year, which is a small pittance for such a useful tool. My employer has provided us all with premium access to RefWorks but, I haven't switched.

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