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Old Sep 13, 2012, 01:01 PM   #1
jojoba
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researchers: which apps do you use to organise your literature review notes?

I've been using excel a lot so far, but I'm looking into alternatives that will provide with me an enhanced version of the excel sheet format in the attached screen shot. In other words, I am looking for a program that will allow me to portray notes that I have made for lots of different journal articles side by side, so I can quickly analyse them across for certain factors (e.g. theoretical approach, research questions, journal of publication etc). (I am not looking for a general pdf management or writing tool).
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 03:13 PM   #2
sigamy
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Are these apps what you are looking for?

http://www.mekentosj.com/papers/

http://www.devontechnologies.com/pro.../overview.html
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 05:13 PM   #3
Coltaine
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Papers 2 by mekentosj (http://www.mekentosj.com/papers/) as mentioned above is definitely the way to go.

Excellent software to keep your papers organized and cite them, while writing manuscripts. There is also an iPhone / iPad app and the library can be synched via Dropbox. Has made my life writing papers a lot easier.
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 09:18 PM   #4
MathRulz
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I use Sente both Mac and iPad. I currently have just under 2000 references in Sente, a large proportion including the pdf (mostly downloaded and attached to a reference as I mine the reference from one of the academic databases--Sente is quite smart about importing and attaching these).

An interesting blog that hits on this and other useful topics on thesis writing, publication, etc is Organizing Creativity by Daniel Wessel. See his very interesting approach using Circus Ponies Notebook for Academic Writing at
http://www.organizingcreativity.com/...hesis-writing/

Wessel also discusses a number of other software tools for academic use (e.g., Sente, DevonThink,...) and a variety of approaches to academic work. One of the blogs I keep revisiting. You can also get a pdf of his book Organizing Creativity.

Here is an academic workflow by Kerry Magruder using Sente, DevonThink, Scrivener, and Pages (note: this is an archived web page, the original has disappeared from the net)
http://www.icyte.com/system/snapshot...f28/index.html
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 08:39 AM   #5
jojoba
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Thanks everyone!

I use Papers, Sente (mostly Sente these days rather than Papers) and DevonThink. Sente is primarily for reference management and annotation, and DevonThink I've so far used for other kinds of projects I'm working on (e.g. gathering and sorting information on a future book project, plus a lot of personal admin goes into DT).

What I'm missing with those apps (but perhaps this function exists somewhere in there and I haven't found it) is the opportunity to display selected elements (e.g. research question, theoretical approach, key findings) from a number of different texts side by side. I've currently been doing it in excel (see snapshot attached for example), but I'm looking to see if there are other/better ways of doing about that. Those links MathRulz posted had several ideas that were new to me, so I'm going to look more in depth at that to see if some of that could be usefully integrated into my work flow.
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 09:45 AM   #6
cntwtfrmynwmbp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojoba View Post
What I'm missing with those apps (but perhaps this function exists somewhere in there and I haven't found it) is the opportunity to display selected elements (e.g. research question, theoretical approach, key findings) from a number of different texts side by side. I've currently been doing it in excel (see snapshot attached for example), but I'm looking to see if there are other/better ways of doing about that.
Hi

This is exactly what I was looking for for a long time.

I'm currently using Scrivener for citation and knowledge management. The main purpose of Scrivener is to write novels or papers but I found it to be very helpful for my needs in knowledge management.

I have a folder with all my texts as subfolders where I'm saving indiviual citations. Besides that I have a folder "topics" with different topics in subfolders. I copy individual citations of the papers to the different topic subfolders. By doing so, I can see either all citations of an individual paper (in folder "texts") or I can see citations/elements from different papers side by side (in folder "topics"). The disadvantage of Scrivener is that it doesn't feature reference management (auto-import of reference metadata etc.)

I would prefer using Citavi for it's brilliant integration of reference and citation/knowledge management. But unfortunately it's only available for Windows (even in the future).

I also suggest looking into those free apps:

- Zotero (as Firefox Addon or as standalone app)
- Mendeley
- Colwiz

Regards

David
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 12:46 PM   #7
MathRulz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojoba View Post

What I'm missing with those apps (but perhaps this function exists somewhere in there and I haven't found it) is the opportunity to display selected elements (e.g. research question, theoretical approach, key findings) from a number of different texts side by side. I've currently been doing it in excel (see snapshot attached for example), but I'm looking to see if there are other/better ways of doing about that.
Thanks for that screenshot. That helps clarify what you seek. I use OmniOutliner Pro for this and similar purposes. Much better for this purpose than excel. OO has educational pricing.
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Old Sep 16, 2012, 09:31 AM   #8
T'hain Esh Kelch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coltaine View Post
Papers 2 by mekentosj (http://www.mekentosj.com/papers/) as mentioned above is definitely the way to go.
Same.

Since you can write notes and use keywords, I think it will get the OP a long way.
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