Docear

Docear 2013 in review and our plans for 2014

It's almost a bit late to review 2013 but better late than never. 2013 doubtlessly was the most active and most successful year for Docear, so far. First and foremost, we finally released Docear 1.0, after releasing many Beta and Release Candidates. Of course, Docear 1.0 is far from being perfect, but we are really proud of it and we think it's an awesome piece of software to manage references, PDFs, and much more. But there were many noteworthy events more, some of which we took pictures of: We presented several research papers at the JCDL in Chicago, TPDL on Malta, and RecSys/RepSys in Hong Kong. It is always a pleasure to attend such conferences. Not only because they take place at really nice locations, but because you meet really interesting people (for instance Kris Jack from Mendeley, a really enthusiastic and smart guy who develops Mendeley's recommender system, or Joseph A. Konstan, who is a true pioneer in the field of recommender systems). [caption id="attachment_4131" align="aligncenter" width="640"]2013-09-23_15-08-37--2013_in_review__Docear-reference mananagement TPDL on Malta[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"]2013-07-18_11-01-10--2013_in_review__Docear-reference mananagement JCDL in Chicago[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4180" align="aligncenter" width="640"]2013 hong kong RecSys in Hong Kong[/caption]

Almost every year, our mentor Prof. Andreas Nürnberger is inviting his team members to a sailing turn, and so he did 2013. For several days we were sailing the Baltic Sea, learned a lot about team work and had a lot of fun.

[caption id="attachment_4129" align="aligncenter" width="640"]2013-08-13_16-25-30--2013_in_review__Docear-reference mananagement Sailing turn with our mentor Prof. Nürnberger, the Docear team, and some PhD students of his working group[/caption] We had the honour to supervise an excellent student team at HTW Berlin thanks to Prof. Weber-Wulff. The students did a great job in developing the Docear Web prototype. It's a pity that the prototype has not yet found its way into our live system, but we have not had the time to give the prototype the last bug fixes and features it needs. However, this is very high on our todo list. [caption id="attachment_4127" align="aligncenter" width="640"]2013-07-12_15-09-14--2013_in_review__Docear-reference mananagement Four of the five students at HTW Berlin who developed a prototype of "Docear Web"[/caption] Docear is primarily located in Magdeburg, Germany, which is close to Berlin. Therefore, we didn't think twice when Researchgate hosted the 10th "Recommender Stammtisch" (regulars' table) in Berlin. There, we could listened to an enlightening talk of Andreas Lommatzsch, and an entertaining introduction of Researchgate's CEO Ijad Madisch.

2013-11-14_21-09-31--2013_in_review__Docear-reference mananagement

(more…)

By Joeran Beel, ago
Academia

Comprehensive Comparison of Reference Managers: Mendeley vs. Zotero vs. Docear

Which one is the best reference management software? That's a question any student or researcher should think about quite carefully, because choosing the best reference manager may save lots of time and increase the quality of your work significantly. So, which reference manager is best? Zotero? Mendeley? Docear? ...? The answer is: "It depends", because different people have different needs. Actually, there is no such thing as the 'best' reference manager but only the reference manager that is best for you (even though some developers seem to believe that their tool is the only truly perfect one). In this Blog-post, we compare Zotero, Mendeley, and Docear and we hope that the comparison helps you to decide which of the reference managers is best for you. Of course, there are many other reference managers. Hopefully, we can include them in the comparison some day, but for now we only have time to compare the three. We really tried to do a fair comparison, based on a list of criteria that we consider important for reference management software. Of course, the criteria are subjectively selected, as are all criteria by all reviewers, and you might not agree with all of them. However, even if you disagree with our evaluation, you might find at least some new and interesting aspects as to evaluate reference management tools. You are very welcome to share your constructive criticism in the comments, as well as links to other reviews. In addition, it should be obvious that we - the developers of Docear - are somewhat biased. However, this comparison is most certainly more objective than those that Mendeley and other reference managers did ;-). Please note that we only compared about 50 high-level features and used a simple rating scheme in the summary table. Of course, a more comprehensive list of features and a more sophisticated rating scheme would have been nice, but this would have been too time consuming. So, consider this review as a rough guideline. If you feel that one of the mentioned features is particularly important to you, install the tools yourself, compare the features, and share your insights in the comments! Most importantly, please let us know when something we wrote is not correct. All reviewed reference tools offer lots of functions, and it might be that we missed one during our review. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="680"] Please note that the developers of all three tools constantly improve their tools and add new features. Therefore, the table might be not perfectly up-to-date. In addition, it's difficult to rate a particular functionality with only one out of three possible ratings (yes; no; partly). Therefore, we highly suggest to read the detailed review, which explains the rationale behind the ratings.[/caption] The  table above provides an overview of how Zotero, Mendeley, and Docear support you in various tasks, how open and free they are, etc. Details on the features and ratings are provided in the following sections. As already mentioned, if you notice a mistake in the evaluation (e.g. missed a key feature), please let us know in the comments.

Overview

[toc] If you don't want to read a lot, just jump to the summary We believe that a reference manager should offer more features than simple reference management. It should support you in (1) finding literature, (2) organizing and annotating literature, (3) drafting your papers, theses, books, assignments, etc., (4) managing your references (of course), and (5) writing your papers, theses, etc. Additionally, many - but not all - students and researchers might be interested in (6) socializing and collaboration, (7) note, task, and general information management, and (8) file management. Finally, we think it is important that a reference manager (9) is available for the major operating systems, (10) has an information management approach you like (tables, social tags, search, ...), and (11) is open, free, and sustainable (see also What makes a bad reference manager).

(more…)

By Joeran Beel, ago
Beta

Docear 1.02 Beta: Serious PDF Bug Fix; added a donation button

We discovered a serious bug in Docear that relates to the PDF management. In some situations, it could happen that when you edited a PDF, the annotation IDs were not recognized correctly, and a conflict was shown. We fixed this bug and publish Docear 1.02 as a beta version today. Right now, the Beta version download is only available in our forum. We would appreciate if you could test the new version. If there are no more serious bugs found, we will publish it as stable version without any further notifications. We also added a "Please Donate" note to the workspace panel. It leads you to our donation page and you are sincerely invited to make use of that page :-). If you have already donated, if you just don't want to donate, or if you need every pixel in the workspace, do a right-click on that note and you will be able to hide it. In addition, we also changed the welcome page that opens after you have installed Docear. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="561"] New "Please donate" note in Docear[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="669"] New "Welcome" page [/caption] (more…)

By Joeran Beel, ago
Docear

Donation volume rapidly increased during the past 2 weeks

After reporting about the rather low donation volume a few weeks ago, donations rapidly increased during the past two weeks. In these two weeks we received more than 200 Dollars, which is half of what we got in the past two years. We don’t know whether this is caused by Christmas, or by whatever other reasons, but we would like to thank all donators, sincerely. Your donations significantly help to improve Docear!  

By Joeran Beel, ago
Docear

Docear 1.01 with some minor improvements and bug fixes

A few days ago we released the experimental version of Docear and wrote about it in our experimental release forum (you can subscribe to that forum if you want to be informed about new experimental releases). Today we declare Docear 1.01 as stable and from now on it's available on our primary download page. Changes are rather minor.  Enhancements include

  • A slightly modified dialog for selecting your PDF viewer (some links were updated)
  • The labeling of the file monitoring settings are now more uniform
  • The colors for "Move ..." in the "Nodes" ribbon were changed from green to blue. There's quite a funny story behind it. One of our team members recently told me that the arrows for moving nodes would point to the wrong direction. I told him that they were absolutely correct and we had quite a discussion. Then we realized that the team member is (red-green) color blind and couldn't recognize the green arrows properly. Well, now the arrows are blue (see screenshot) and all people should be able to recognize them correctly :-)
In addition, we did some bug fixes. (more…)

By Joeran Beel, ago
Jobs & Internships

Do a paid internship at Docear in Germany, summer 2014 (US, UK, and CA Bachelor students only)

Like the previous years, we offer the opportunity for Bachelor students from the US, UK or Canada to do a paid internship at Docear in summer 2014 (if you are from Germany, please read here). The internship should last for 8-12 weeks with the earliest start date being May and the latest being August. You will be paid 650 Euros a month, a 160 Euro allowance for travelling, and health insurance. International travel costs will not be covered. You will be placed with Docear’s core team in Magdeburg, close to Berlin. So, if you love Docear as much as we do, are a passionate software developer or statistician (or want to become one), and are interested to spend your next summer Read more…

By Joeran Beel, ago
Off-Topic

On the popularity of reference managers, and their rise and fall

This weekend, I had some spare time and I wondered which was the most popular reference manager (and how Docear is doing in comparison). So, I took a list of reference managers from Wikipedia, and checked some statistics on Alexa, Google Trends, and Google Keyword Planner. Since I had the data anyway, I thought I share it with you :-). Please note that this is a quick and dirty analysis. I cannot guarantee that there is not one or two reference managers missing (i just took the list from Wikipedia), and, of course, there are many alternatives to Alexa and Google for measuring the popularity of a reference manager. (more…)

By Joeran Beel, ago
Docear

Docear 1.0 (stable), a new video, new manual, new homepage, new details page, …

Today, Docear 1.0 (stable) is finally available for Windows, Mac, and Linux to ico16download. It's been almost two years since we released the first private Alpha of Docear and we are really proud of what we accomplished since then. Docear is better than ever, and in addition to all the enhancements we made during the past years, we completely rewrote the manual with step-by-step instructions including an overview of supported PDF viewers, we changed the homepage, we created a new video, and we made the features & details page much more comprehensive. For those who already use Docear 1.0 RC4, there are not many changes (just a few bug fixes). For new users, we would like to explain what Docear is and what makes it so special.

Docear is a unique solution to academic literature management that helps you to organize, create, and discover academic literature. The three most distinct features of Docear are:

  1. A single-section user-interface that differs significantly from the interfaces you know from Zotero, JabRef, Mendeley, Endnote, ... and that allows a more comprehensive organization of your electronic literature (PDFs) and the annotations you created (i.e highlighted text, comments, and bookmarks).
  2. A 'literature suite concept'  that allows you to draft and write your own assignments, papers, theses, books, etc. based on the annotations you previously created.
  3. A research paper recommender system that allows you to discover new academic literature.

Aside from Docear's unique approach, Docear offers many features more. In particular, we would like to point out that Docear is free, open source, not evil, and Docear gives you full control over your data. Docear works with standard PDF annotations, so you can use your favorite PDF viewer. Your reference data is directly stored as BibTeX (a text-based format that can be read by almost any other reference manager). Your drafts and folders are stored in Freeplane's XML format, again a text-based format that is easy to process and understood by several other applications. And although we offer several online services such as PDF metadata retrieval, backup space, and online viewer, we do not force you to register. You can just install Docear on your computer, without any registration, and use 99% of Docear's functionality.

But let's get back to Docear's unique approach for literature management...

(more…)

By Joeran Beel, ago
Beta

Docear 1.0 RC4 – we are getting close to version 1.0

Today we released the 4th release candidate version of Docear. With all the changes introduced into Docear with RC3, there were still some bugs to fix which could cause some distortion in the workspace tree or even prevented users with Chinese language settings from seeing Docear’s ribbon. RC4 is something like the final touch to our previous version and we really want to keep it save. So, if you want to help us, please download this version of Docear and report any bugs or issues you can find here. By the way, have you ever wondered if there was an easy way to get rid of all the information you don’t need when you are drafting your papers or organizing your Read more…

By Joeran Beel, ago
Beta

Docear 1.0 RC3: Improved monitoring concept, neater GUI, and many bug fixes

Today we released RC3 (Release Candidate) of Docear 1.0 (not yet on the official download page but here in the Blog only). It has one major change compared to previous Docear versions, namely we got rid of the "Incoming" mind map. In the past, most users never really got used to the idea why there was an 'Incoming' mind map and a 'Literature & Annotations' mind map. Now, there is only the 'Literature & Annotations' mind map but it has a special "incoming" node in which new PDFs are added. We hope that this concept is easier to understand. It also means that when you move a PDF from the incoming node to any other node in the mind map, and you create new annotations in the PDF, the new annotations are directly added to the PDF node in the mind map and there won't be any new node in the incoming node. However, if you prefer the old concept, don't worry. You can keep your old incoming mind map and use Docear as you were used to be. (more…)

By Joeran Beel, ago