Bookends integration

Any who recognize my signin name know I rant about wanting Bookends, DT, and Mellel integration. Here’s another attempt to sway the opinions of the powers that be. Christian has told me that they aren’t too interested in working with Bookends because DT users use a bunch of different software. I’m as pragmattic as the next guy, so I think this is an entirely legitimate response. So let’s see which software is the most used by DT users. IF Bookends wins the poll, then I hope this may be enough to at least initiate a conversation between SonnySoftware and DEVONTechnologies. Jon at SonnySoftware has said:
“As I believe I mentioned before, I’ve learned that most other small companies aren’t particularly interested in working together (RedleX is an exception). If DEVON is, and contacts me, I would be very happy to explore some sort of cooperation with them.”

Simply put Bookends is willing, and us users are hoping. But if I don’t belong to the majority, then I’ll just moan in silence from now on…


My apologies, I never heard of BibDesk, and I added an “other” choice for the poll and it didn’t show up, and I can’t edit the poll now :frowning:

Here’s a vote in your basket, Danzac. DT (+DEVONagent), Bookends and Mellel are my best friends, by far. How “nice” it would be if they would all get along much better!

As the lone Sente user, I had to speak up. I considered long and hard between Sente and Bookends but decided on Sente because of the easy of use and cleaner UI. I would certainly consider switching if there were to be some sort of integration.

Basically, it would be very useful for my work-flow to streamline the process of integration between my bibliographic (Sente) and information (DT) databases. Ideally, Devon Technologies could sell a citation management module which I would buy in a second. This would have to a) have easy import from other formats and b)provide the functionality of the prior software in the context of Devonthink.

It seems that citation management would be a logical next step in the evolution of Devonthink. Is anyone aware of plans to implement this functionality?

I can’t see that happening, but I may be wrong. citation management is major work. Bookends has been around for how long and it is still perfecting things. I could be wrong…


you’re right - this won’t happen, at least in the foreseeable future :slight_smile: But other enhancements (e.g. improved BibTeX import or adding a BibTeX export) might follow.

Christian! I knew you’d pop up here eventually. Looks like Bookends is in the majority—how about firing off an email to Jon at SonnySoftware?

Thanks for the suggestion, maybe in the future (at the moment I’m drowning in work :slight_smile:)

Great! I will hold you to it!!

By the way - I’ve just checked the popularity of Bookends, EndNote and Sente (by scanning tens of thousands of web pages). And according to the results Bookends is the least popular application (EndNote: 41 results, Sente: 26 results, Bookends: 11 results).

VersionTracker & MacUpdate tell a different story but on the other hand we know that the downloads from those sites are more or less irrelevant.

Bookends forum= 446 registered users
Endnote forum= no forum (suprise suprise!)
Sente forum= 220 registered users

Looks like version tracker may be the more accurate report :slight_smile:

A forum is not necessarily the best index to company support. The folks at DT are wonderfully patient (witness this thread), but if they one day ramp up to the scale of EndNote sales, they’d have to do something other than deal all day with users who need to read the Tutorial or want new features.

EndNote provides quite good support at That page features downloads, tip sheets, a link to the List Archives (which is, in fact, a user forum), and also many user-supplied files that extend the styles, filters, and templates of Endnote.

What kind of integration do you want?
I am using Papyrus and DT and they are tools for different aspects of my work. In Papyrus I am maintaining references to scientific literature, which are cited often in different styles. In DT I am archiving popular newsbits which usually aren’t cited in journals where it is important how to cite.
Very few questions have to be answered using both scientific publications and popular writings.

Data which has to be cited later needs to be entered in fields. I don’t think that DTs artificial intelligence is smart enough to import unstructured data from Journal websites or manuscripts in a way where it could be cited in different styles later.

So why would you want DT to carry scientific references in its database?

I have complete PDF publications in DT to find stuff which hasn’t been mentioned in the abstracts. This is nice.

I am not using DT as a writer. I could maybe collect key phrases of different works for my own publication. But I am writing scientific publications very different than popular articles. I need to know the complete paper to evaluate sampling, data handling, statistics (as far as my limited understanding reaches) before using the results of any paper. Just using key phrases would maybe lead to sloppy work. If I’d want to use DT simply as a writer for a publication I could drag and drop citations from Papyrus.

Furthermore I wouldn’t need DT as a search helper for my Papyrus databases, because I have a fine search functionality in Papyrus.

I would of course love if a company with such a brillant software like DT and a rich experience in data handling would overtake the development of the congenial but idle software Papyrus.
But as I tried to address above I see bibliography managers as an application class of its own and don’t think that integrating such functionality into DT would do something good to DT.

So, I am very curious to learn, what you’d expect from a deeper integration of those tools.

Hi macvet. My wants are fairly simple actually, I definitely don’t want DT to be able to do formatting or anything. DT is already able to index and keep up to date on the Bookends attachments file. I would like it if Bookends could provide some sort of plugin so that a Bookends Database file could be read/displayed (as a sheet would not be ideal but sufficient) in DT so that my DT database and Bookends DB could be searched together. I would also like to be able to click on one of the Bookends references from DT and be taken to that reference in Bookends.

I certainly don’t think it necessary to have DT do anything Bookends can do, but I would like to be able to search my Bookends DB, my attachments, and my DT database all at the same time, and make it easy to move between the two programs.

Incidentally, this is all I want for integration between DT and Mellel, to have Mellel files indexed and viewable in DT.

Some other users would like to be able to edit both Mellel files and the Bookends DB from within DT, I don’t think this is necessary.

Hope this makes sense.

Hi danzac,

thanks for the quick clarification. I understand, that it would be nice to search the Bookends database together with your DT database. You want to use DT as a kind of frontend for Bookends. But the question remains even if this integration is possible: Who would want it (apart from you)?

There are only few people using personal bibliography managers (PBM). Most of them are (hopefully) happy with what their applications offer.
AFAIK Bookends has a sufficient search engine. Why would a Bookends user need (and buy) DT? Is there maybe something where you are unsatisifed with Bookends which is solved better in DT?
I have to say that I have only a limited knowledge of OS X PBMs (Bibdesk, Bookends, Endnote, Sente). Because Papyrus is Classic and I don’t know how long I can continue to use it, I am looking every now and then to those OS X PBMs.

I don’t want to spoil your initiative. I am a kind of bibliography manager fanatic, maintaining databases with more than 30.000 references. Every improvement of my daily work is very welcome. But I can understand that Christian is putting a bibliography manager integration not on top of his to do list.

It might be more convincing for the DT programmers if they knew that Bookends is working on a Valentina database foundation. Valentina databases and users are more abundant than users of bibliography managers. But since everyone can design his own database it could be a challenging program adventure…

Besides Danny, I would use it! :slight_smile:

The point is not to use it as a front-end; that’s besides the point. Rather, many of us use DT as our note-taking database of our book-readings and research notes. We want to link those notes to their relevant bibliographical entries, so that full biblio info is only a click away, whether from DT to the bibliographic database (in this case, Boookends), or from the biblio database to the relevant folder of notes in DT.

Exporting the bibliographic info from Bookends, and importing it into DT, is possible now using “aliases”. It is manual, which nonetheless is fine; what is not fine is that once you try to reimport your biblio database again, all your aliases are gone, and you have to build them all over again. So, for example, if you add new entries into your biblio database (in Bookends for example), or modify a pre-existing bibliographic entry, you have to manually export just that/those entries and import them. Likewise if you annotate or otherwise modify the biblio entry in the DT sheets. There is no way to sync, or even to import without overwriting all one’s aliases and annotations.

But that’s only one benefit. The other major benefit?: applying DT’s amazing AI abilities on one’s bibliographical info. Many of my bibliographic entries have brief overviews of the book or article in the shape of an abstract. If I import these all with the rest of the bibliographic info in DT, DT can then “recommend” certain books and articles to me when I am looking at a note or another file in the database. That is powerful stuff: it reminds you of articles/books that are relevant to your present research!

This would also further enhance the current working relationship between Bookends and Mellel. One’s biblio entries and notes in DT, linked to the relevant entry in Bookends, which can then immediately place the relevant biblio information for the footnote to that note that one has copy and pasted into Mellel from one’s “notebook” in Devonthink. No one program has to do everything; that is bloat. For the programs to work together well would be most fruitful.

As to why Bookends, and not any other bib program, I offer that top-notch mac programmers in complementary types of software should work together whenever possible, support one another, and help develop the Mac platform as the most integrated OS. By taking advantage of underlying OS X technologies, and then working together somewhat, amazing collaborations could take place, all of which would (a) help the end-users like us, and (b) help each piece of software to find new users/buyers. When programs are closely integrated (as Bookends and Mellel currently are), it leads users of one program to often purchasing the other. This leads to further development, and the cycle continues, to the benefit of all. :slight_smile:

he said it better than I did, so I’ll just say- Dido.

I tend to scowl at users who constantly noodge for new features, but this conversation is interesting for what it says about the methods of researchers and writers. We all have different needs, depending on the amount of documentation we have to search and also display in our writings.

In my work, I use DTP for notes, Endnote for citations, and Word for writing. I looked up Bookends and see that it has plug-ins for both Mellel and Word. Endnote has a plug-in, but only for Word. So there you have integration between word processors and bibliography managers. (Not from E to M, yet.)

As for integration with DTP, I just ask Endnote to run a search and then dump the results into an output file. Entries appear in MLA style, with abstract:

Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995). How policy makers used Indian schools to transform Indian youth to American ways: cropped hair, army uniforms, drilling and marching, daily chores. Students faced guardhouse duty for speaking Indian, and many died from childhood diseases; see pictures of crowded school graveyards on 216-18.

That’s an RTF file that I place in DTP, with appropriate title. If I need to update that file, it takes a few seconds to generate and replace the old one. That’s enough integration for me. I have at most two application windows open, and sometimes it’s just a matter of drag-dropping the styled text to DTP.

I don’t mean to sound stubborn, but I’m not grasping why one needs more than that. Asking DTP to become a bibliography manager AND word processor doesn’t seem necessary, and think of the perils of bloatware and high costs that would follow that development track.

Just to be clear, I am definitely not asking DT to be a bib. manager OR a word processor, just that some extra integration between DT and Bookends would be looked at. I don’t think DT could be a better bib. manager than Bookends, nor do I think it could be a better word processor than Mellel. And it shouldn’t be- that’s not what DT is for. but certainly some integration at the programming level would be helpful, no?

Consider Nota Bene. While I do hear some users squeel about it being slow sometimes, I have read some excellent reviews. It basically does the work of BE, DT, and Mellel all together- and with excellent integration between the 3 sections of the program (note-taking/word processor/bib.manager). Is it too much to ask to have 3 excellent Mac programs to play nice® together?