The new Docear4Word v1.23 is out as Beta version. Changes are A more detailed error message when there is a parsing error in your BibTeX file. The latest v1.0.517 version of CiteProc-JS has been included. This should finally solve all the sorting and numbering issues. We made some adjustment that Read more…
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.
- 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.
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.
Today, Docear 1.0 (stable) is finally available for Windows, Mac, and Linux to download. 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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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…
Update 2013-11-11: For some statistical data read On the popularity of reference managers, and their rise and fall
Update 2014-01-15: For a detailed review of Docear and other tools, read Comprehensive Comparison of Reference Managers: Mendeley vs. Zotero vs. Docear
At time of writing these lines, there are 31 reference management tools listed on Wikipedia and there are many attempts to identify the best ones, or even the best one (e.g. here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, … ). Typically, reviewers gather a list of features and analyze which reference managers offer most of these features, and hence are the best ones. Unfortunately, each reviewer has its own preferences about which features are important, and so have you: Are many export formats more important than a mobile version? Is it more important to have metadata extraction for PDF files than an import for bibliographic data from academic search engines? Would a thorough manual be more important than free support? How important is a large number of citation styles? Do you need a Search & Replace function? Do you want to create synonyms for term lists (whatever that means)? …?
Let’s face the truth: it’s impossible to determine which of the hundred potential features you really need.
So how can you find the best reference manager? Recently we had an ironic look at the question what the best reference managers are. Today we want to have a more serious analysis, and propose to first identify the bad reference managers, instead of looking for the very best ones. Then, if the bad references managers are found, it should be easier to identify the best one(s) from the few remaining.
What makes a bad – or evil – reference manager? We believe that there are three no-go ‘features’ that make a reference manager so bad (i.e. so harming in the long run) that you should not use it, even if it possesses all the other features you might need.
1. A “lock-in feature” that prevents you from ever switching to a competitor tool
A reference manager might offer exactly the features you need, but how about in a few years? Maybe your needs are changing, other reference managers are just becoming better than your current tool, or your boss is telling you that you have to use a specific tool. In this case it is crucial that your current reference manager doesn’t lock you in and allows switching to your new favorite reference managers. Otherwise, you will have a serious problem. You might have had the perfect reference manager for the past one or two years. But then you are bound to the now not-so-perfect tool for the rest of your academic life. To being able to switch to another reference manager, your reference manager should be offering at least one of the following three functions (ideally the first one).
- Your data should be stored in a standard format that other reference managers can read
- Your reference manager should be able to export your data in a standard format
- Your reference manager allows direct access to your data, so other developers can write import filters for it.
Docear4Word 1.1 is available for download and it offers two new features that will improve your work with references in Microsoft Word a lot. Actually, we added two new elements to the “Add References” dialog.
The first one is a “Docear->Docear4Word” button. It’s intended for adding several references at once when you have multiple BibTeX keys in our clipboard. And here is how it works: Most references managers (e.g. JabRef and Docear) allow you to select several reference entries from the database and copy their BibTeX keys to the clipboard. That means you have a string like “Cohen05,ritchie2008,Eto12” in your clipboard. Now, when you press the “Docear->Docear4Word” button, Docear4Word will automatically get that string from the clipboard, identify the BibTeX keys and select the references belonging to the keys. This will make inserting several references at once much easier.