Managing Medical Literature on a Mac: iPapers, Papers, Sente, BibDesk

You might remember this post about an OS X application for managing PDFs using metadata from PubMed- the application is called iPapers.

Ars Technica recently reviewed an application for OS X with some awfully similar features called Papers
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From the Papers site:

Introducing Papers…
Do you have dozens of PDF files from your favorite scientific articles scattered on your harddrive? Do you also try to desperately organize them by renaming and archiving them in folders? But like the piles of printed articles on your desk, you can’t keep up with all the new papers you download, and despite all your efforts it has become impossible to find that one article.

Finally that all belongs to the past. We’ve been there, trust us, we know. That’s why we wrote Papers, our latest application exclusively for the Mac. Papers will revolutionize the way you deal with scientific papers. Search for papers using PubMed, directly retrieve and archive PDFs, and read and study them all from within Papers, your personal library of Science.

From the Ars Technica article:

The comments on the Ars review include mention of BibDesk and Sente as potential alternatives. I love Sente’s marketing: “It’s like iTunes for academic literature.”

5 thoughts on “Managing Medical Literature on a Mac: iPapers, Papers, Sente, BibDesk

  1. David, this makes me wish I had a Mac. šŸ™‚ But I don’t. I looked at the other Mac possibilities you link as well. Sente does also seem very appealing. But, I wonder, are you following Zotero? It’s in beta, but it’s compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It definitely has some limitations, as it is a Firefox extension and really only manages and organizes *web* resources. I haven’t actually played around with this one too much.

    What is appealing about these Mac options is that they don’t read, at least to me, to be limited to the internet. I actually have a lot of digital files on my computer that are not from the internet that also need organizing.

    I know you have great interest in all things medical, but why do you suppose Papers (and other applications) are so specific to the sciences? Don’t you think this application could be useful in a more general way?

    What is involved in the PubMed sort of “communication” and link in? Do you know? Is it because of these types of collaborations that make this so specific? –I’m just curious how you see these things.


  2. Hi Katy-

    Yeah. these make me want a Mac, too.

    Yep, I’ve been following Zotero. I think you’re right in pointing out that where Zotero is really for citation management of items found online, where iPapers and similar applications are really for *document* management.

    “why do you suppose Papers (and other applications) are so specific to the sciences?”

    I *think* that you’re asking why these sorts of applications focus on medical literature.

    My guess is that it has a lot to with with the huge amount of freely available metadata for medical literature at PubMed. Not only is the data there, free, and structured- but it can also be accessed without having to go through the Web interface (details here and here).

    But hey- I’m far from expert on the topic. Are you aware of any other body of literature that has a database comparable with MEDLINE/PubMed (Not a rhetorical question)?

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