Automating Split vs. Batch processing Custom Meta-Data


I’m running into a slight snag in what I think might be a very handy way to integrate Scrivener with Papers2. The short version of my question/problem is that I’m looking to see if there’s a way either to automate “Find” and then “Split with Selection as Title” or to batch process entries when you have the same Custom Meta-Data fields and References for a series of documents.

The long version of the story comes from me wanting to finally find a relatively paperless workflow in my academic publishing. My old approach was to print off research articles, read them and write quotes and notes on cue cards, each with a reference to the original article, then sort the cue cards into a rough outline, which would produce my first draft. Besides killing trees, this usually required me to find an unused seminar room on campus where I could spread out the cards on a table at the same time I played with organization on a wipe board. I’ve been wanting to bring this approach into the 21st C for a while, but its only recently that I’ve discovered both Papers2 (which allows me to read and note comfortably on an iPad - or at least I hope so when I get it next month :astonished: ) and Scrivener (which allows me to recreate the sort).

The trick right now is in getting my reading notes and quotes out of Papers2 (the desk top version) and into Scrivener as a series of separate documents (my beloved cue cards) that nonetheless reference back to the original pdf’s that produced them. I’ve created a Custom Meta-Data field called “Source” in Scrivener that links documents back to the Papers2 pdfs (through a link produced by the “Copy As/Papers Link” command in Papers2). When I double click the link in Scrivener, it opens up the pdf in Papers2, so it all seems to work there. I’ve also inserted a reference to my Endnote entries in the Document References pane, and I’m hoping to cut and paste that reference wherever I need it in my draft to produce the bibliography.

The catch now is trying to find a way of splitting the one “Notes” document exported by Papers2 into a series of Scrivener documents that carry the same Papers2/Endnote links. So far, I’ve found two possible ways of doing this, but they’re both time consuming:

The first is to write my notes in Papers2 with a unique character placed where I wanted the splits to go so that I could ask Scrivener to produce separate documents during import. In my tests, I used ^ as my character and it worked great. The character disappeared and the rest of the headings were retained. The problem was that I then had to manually go into each of the documents and repeatedly insert the same metadata (links to both Papers & Endnote), which takes a while if you write a lot of notes. I’m wondering if anyone has hit upon a way to select several documents and then insert the same Custom Meta-Data info and References at the same time?

The second solution seems to be to import the document into Scrivener and then do the split. If you insert the metadata in the newly imported document prior to the split, all the subsequent documents have the same metadata, so there isn’t any need to do batch processing. However, it then requires you to do a whole series of “Find by Formatting” followed by “Split with Selection at Title” to produce the separate documents. I’ve tied using the keyboard shortcuts to make it faster, but it is still pretty tedious. To make it even more difficult, my desktop version of Papers2 seems to be losing the formatting of its RTF notes, so I had to push the text files through Word to produce underlined/bolded text needed for the Find-Split routine. Has anyone hit on a way of automating this or maybe even getting Scrivener to do a Find-Split based on unique characters, just like it does during import?

I’m hoping I can get this to work. It seems as though Papers2 and Scrivener (combined with some “wipe-boarding” in xMind) might allow me to go completely paperless.