After a long pause, I have started to write articles again, and therefore needed to reinstall Endnote. Then I realized that Endnote is horrible, and there is surely something better. Enter Bookends, which can import Endnote libraries, plays nicely with OSX apps, and seems the answer to all my problems. I also managed to cleverly buy it in a software bundle (now expired), so I paid nowhere near the asking price.
The short answer is Yes. But not everyone will need both programs, as the features overlap.
Features shared by Papers and Bookends
- Automatically complete metadata using PubMed
- Can write notes on references
- Can create custom tags
- Can associate PDF with citation information
- Can create citations using clipboard (e.g. CMD-C)
- Drag and drop citations into open text document
- Email reference with right click
- Smart folders for references - Bookends can be heirarchical, but are based only on the reference information. Papers has more flexible categories, like whether PDF present, last read, whether printed, as well as limited reference fields.
- Can add URL to reference
- Search databases from within program (Pubmed, Google Books etc)
Cool features exclusive to Bookends
- eg automatic detection of citations on pages like citeyoulike - Bookends only
- Import filters
- Can attach non-PDF files to a reference
- Traditional bibliography management like Reference Manager or Endnote, with citations search from within word processor, including cut and paste or keystroke export to virtually any open text program (e.g. Word, Pages, Mail, Text, Marsedit)
- Can colour file labels and use those to filter
Cool features exclusive to Papers
- Fullscreen PDF reading
- Notes pane open when PDF open (for taking notes on the document)
- Can focus on Journals or Authors
- Tracks extra PDF information - read, printed, date last read
- Tabbed browsing
- Can export PDFs in multiple formats -as PDFs, as Papers archive (with metadata attached), as references (Endnote XML, Bookends, other formats)
- Can email PDFs from within Papers
Head to head comparison
|Primary catalogued item||Reference information (”citation”)||PDF files|
|Citation styles||Multiple recognized formats||Non-customisable reference format|
|Effect when dragging a reference||Drags PDF, reference, title, Endnote citation, Bibtex identifier||Drags formatted reference, or place marker (for later formatting)|
|Able to use as citation manager||Definitely||Not really, but technically possible with work arounds|
|Attachments||Multiple attachments for each reference||It’s all about the PDF, man|
|Adding PDFs||Drop onto open library||Drop onto dock icon or anywhere else, via services menu|
|Backup||Syncs to www.refbase.org||Use Backup utility to backup|
|Citations managed||Scientific articles, Book chapters, Artwork, Thesis, In press etc.||Journal articles (Other PDFs can be added to the system, but they are not managed well|
Different Software for different tasks
If you read through the features discussed above, you will hopefully realize that both programs have slightly different aims. Bookends is a traditional citation management program that deals with everything from scientific journal articles to books, artworks and even websites. Papers is a fully-featured PDF filing, reading and manipulation program.
If you want to buy only one program, then your choice will depend on which features you need. If you want to read, search and annotate PDFs and occasionally use them as citations, Papers is the choice. If you want to create formatted bibliographies with multiple reference types, then you should choose Bookends. Or perhaps you might want to research some of the other citation management software out there. I will probably use both programs when writing journal articles - Papers to read and choose my papers, and Bookends to manipulate the citations.
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