Looking for new reference manager to work with Scrivener. RIP Sente

Hi everyone,

I am a long term user of both Scrivener and Sente. I am a historian and have used them together to write two books. However, Sente seems to have closed its doors. While it still works on my Mac it no longer syncs with my iPad and I am contemplating a new computer. So, I am searching for a new reference manager that works well with Scrivener and syncs with the iPad. It would be ideal to find one that allows me to relatively easily migrate nearly 2500 references, most include annotations. But that might be asking too much!

Many thanks for any ideas, experiences, what have you.

Bookends and Papers 3 both seem to work well with Scrivener.

I work in history and psychology, and since 1992 I have used Endnote, Bookends, Sente, Papers, Zotero, Mendeley, Bibdesk, and probably a few others I can’t remember. The ones I used for an extended period of time were Endnote, Bookends, Sente and Papers.

I thought I had settled on Papers, but the transition from version 2 to version 3 was a disaster. If you do a bit of research you will find old posts about people losing data, the app not working properly for quite a long period of time, and inadequate technical support.

I cut my losses and returned to Bookends, which was the program I had used most in the past. I liked Sente in many ways, but it did have trouble formatting bibliographies at times. Bookends is not a pretty program, but it is VERY powerful. And it just keeps relentlessly working. The developer is very good at supporting the program, though terse in his responses. Bookends integrates very well with Tinderbox and DEVONthink, not to mention Scrivener. The are all part of the “artisanal” family of programs with regular discounts, and seem to support each other.

I have 2,217 references in my collection, 866 with attachments (which can be any sort of file, or even a folder with multiple files in it – I think I have about twelve attachments for one of my references) and all of this syncs to my phone or iPad (there is an iOS app). Having my entire bibliographic database on my iPhone is nice, though I don’t use the facility much.

In short, other programs come and go, they break, or fade away, but Bookends just carries on. It has its quirks, like any software, but it works. Solidly. Oh – and the User Guide is a 445 page pdf. The documentation is very comprehensive.


There is a forum, too:


You might like Papers more, but I wouldn’t touch it after the catastrophe of the version 2 to 3 transition. Mendeley and Zotero also have their supporters, but I don’t have any recent experience of using them. I just found them a bit more inconvenient when I tried them.

I use Papers. Started with v 2 and moved on to v 3 and haven’t had any major mishaps. The deal breaker for me, at the time, was that Papers had (and have) the ability to search a lot of different databases and this works on both my Macs and my iPads. Bookends didn’t have that at the time.

There have been rumors and info from RedCube suggesting that they will move to a subscription model. If they do, I will drop Papers 3 and probably move to Bookends. But until that happens I will stick with Papers 3.

Thanks. It does seem that Bookends can search a good variety of databases now. Good to hear in any case that Papers is still a good option.

Very, very helpful–thank you. I downloaded the trial and spent some time with yesterday and liked it. The migration from Sente appears to be well thought out and while of course not seamless will work. I’ve more or less settled on Bookends. Thanks again!