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How do you organize your collection of papers?

  1. Feb 1, 2013 #1
    I have something like 1500 papers on my PC and it is hard to keep track of all of them. I've painstakingly organized them all into about 10 categorized folders, and named them all by first author's name + title + year. I then put it all in cloud storage so that I can access it anywhere and don't have multiple copies of the same article. And every time I finish reading one of them I update a summary/review of what the paper's about on a bibtex file, otherwise write down my own notes in a single large LaTeX book.

    But it's still rather hard to keep track of it, and I wish I was spending less time doing manual labor with arranging the journal articles.

    What do you guys do to organize your papers?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2013 #2
    I have also a lot of eBooks and eJournals in my External HDD. I keep the Journals by Title then Year wise, For Books I used Author-wise folders.
  4. Feb 2, 2013 #3
    I see. Personally I'd go in this order: First Author > Year > Title. So you wouldn't have folders that are very empty.

    Anyone uses a shell/Perl/Python script or a full database e.g. SQL?
  5. Feb 2, 2013 #4
    Mendeley. Free, cross platform, amazing. I don't know how others manage paper collections without a software organizer such as this.
  6. Feb 2, 2013 #5
    Thanks! That's really interesting. I currently use a Python script to walk through the tree and generate a BibTeX of all of the papers I've collected, but I didn't want to reinvent the wheel and that seems like what I've been looking for!
  7. Feb 2, 2013 #6


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    I have a many GB of pdfs.

    I created a folder called Library. I have a separate folder Conferences.

    Under library, I have folders by organization, e.g., ASTM, IAEA, . . . . , and I have a folder, Journal Articles. Under Journal Articles, I have folders for specific journals.

    A colleagues has organized journal articles under each journal by year. I usually keep one folder for each journal and make the title the journal initials, volume, year (maybe author) and title.

    Under Conference, it is organized by conference acronym and year.

    I probably need a robust and simple document control/retrieval system.
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