Reference Management


The obvious black hole for many of us researchers is the lack of reference management in DTP and DevonAgent. This means that we have to deal with a huge assortment of kludges for integrating Papers, EndNote, Bookends, Sente, Zotero, Mendeley, or whatever into our DTP/DevonAgent-based workflows. Nightmares ensue. I suspect that lots of people considering DTP and DevonAgent don’t see the benefit when the software they’re already using handles their references also will store their files, do online searches, and let them takes notes on their sources.

What’s needed?

  1. A way to automatically generate reference data from a search result in DevonAgent or an existing source in DTP. The former is relatively easy-ish. The later is much harder. They are two libraries that purport to be able to generate reference data from existing sources:


So, one of those might be a good solution.

  1. A way to manage that reference data. Now, if you want to stay out of the bibliography software business, then just tag the data element with, say, BibTex element names and make that data available to be grabbed with an AppleScript, or copy and pasted. A full-blown set of bibliography features would allow you do to much more with that data, but the first step is to make it available and then maybe let plug-ins handle the management of it.

Thank you for the interesting suggestions! These are similar to Metadata scraper

This is indeed the ‘obvious black hole’. I love and use DevonThink Pro Office, Devon Agent, and Devon Sphere - however, as an academic, it is still necessary to work with a dedicated bibliography manager (ie Bookends, Sente, etc etc). I would like to see a Devon Tech product that I could use instead.

As a brand new user of DTPO I would very much support some sort of reference annotation option.

I’m finding it difficult to add a small amount of reference info to the many hundreds of reference items I’m trying to transfer from my overgrown Scrivener project.

I don’t need a complete reference database that can print bibliographical info. But a basic version would be very helpful. Or, maybe I do need a better bibliography program, but then I’m wondering if I need Devonthink? (The OCR has sold me so far though.)

Coming from Scrivener, I want a view that allows me to have my current document open and see some metadata/reference info on the side. It looks like the best option now is to keep the Get Info panel open and enter my basic bibliography notes in the Spotlight Comments there, but that feels clumsy. I gather this didn’t use to be searchable, but has been fixed?

The other Devon option I read about involves creating separate related files for each item (using scripts or whatever) and adding notes and references to these additional files. I’m obviously not as robust as some researchers because this makes my head hurt. I would like each pdf or other file to have some easily visible/editable information attached to it. (These added notes might be stored in a separate file somehow, but I don’t want to have to see and manually organize that.)

I’m feeling like this basic addition would make my transition to Devonthink much much easier.

I’ll drop this over to their support folks too, but thought I’d share here.

I’m on only about day 3 of working out how I’ll enter my research into DTOP. Adding reference and bibliography information to documents is obviously is not a self-evident “built-in” functionality of the program.

I’m going to experiment with creating linked annotation files. That seems to be the most-promoted work-around. Not as simple as I’d like though, and I admit to being taken aback at how tricky it is to figure out what seems a basic need for me. I really don’t need the functionality of a full-on bibliography program, (though maybe I wouldn’t regret getting one eventually).

I’m given to understand that the Devon folks may someday add metadata functionality. I think that incorporating the annotation-file workaround in a user-friendly way in the background might work.

I would like it if there were an Annotation Window similar to the Get Info one. It would allow editing (or creating and editing) an annotation file linked to the open document. Pretty similar to some people’s scripted workflow, but a bit more integrated and easy?

For my laptop I’d prefer some kind of panel/drawer so I wouldn’t have to keep moving the extra window like I find myself doing with Get Info. I want it open, but not covering things up, then I want it closed and to have my screen real-estate back.

Having the metadata in a separate plaintext file would work for cross-platform/generation usability, no? In exporting from Scrivener I found that each document there exported as three documents, the original, and two that contained Scrivener’s metadata in plaintext. If I was smarter I’d figure out a way to create new DTOP annotation files that automatically import from those Scrivener-created metadata files. Or, I may do it by hand.

Possible solutions for me, now:

I’m wondering what happens if I “merge” an Annotation file (created by the Devon script) with my imported Scrivener Metadata files? Would it still be identified as an Annotation file and linked to the original? I’m not clear on Merge-ing yet. Maybe I’ll learn that next.

I may also try simply creating groups around the various related files, and coming back and cleaning it up if I ever come up with a better way. Putting things in folders may be old fashioned, but could be good enough for now.