I’ve recently been appreciating more and more the way Scrivener’s Resources area works – you can put just about anything in there to refer to, and choose a form which is broad or one which lets you have just the essentials.
If you work with published papers or other items in pdf (I keep all my web page copies this way), you may need something more, just to manage having a lot of them. it’s possible you also need a way to manage bibliographies.
I had been looking at several tools, since these have grown up while i wasn’t looking, way past what ‘reference managers’ used to be.
Then comments let me to Qiqqa (qiqqa.com). First response after trying things on it for a couple of hours is that it’s a wonder. And for reasonable size work, it’s free. You can pay more to get more abilities, and the step most people would need there is only a cup of coffee a month. Reasonable, as in student reasonable.
Qiqqa comes from the startup incubator at Cambridge University, and has just great ways of handling PDFs alone. You can mark them up with highlights or drawings, tag them in your own folksonomy style, add comments, add bookmarks and jump around, all sorts of things on the papers themselves. This alone will make you not want to go back to Adobe Reader/Acrobat any time soon for reading.
Then, layered on this, are a remarkable set of tools. There’s optical character reading, so that the text becomes useful and findable on photocopy pdfs. There are a number of means which automate as can, and make simple where automation won’t work, to get officially formatted bibliographies and to get those into your work. It’s automatic on Word, even 2003, and automatic then simple button and paste to get a bibliography into Scrivener or other non-integrated tool.
There is a tool to make and manipulate mindmap diagrams out of relationships between papers. There is automation that analyzes texts and come up with keywords that have meaning, and the relations between papers based on them. Here we’re really moving into aids to research. You don’t have to get involved with this, but it’s certainly interesting that it’s present, and in the free version also.
I have a small mountain of research in a number of areas, which probably will see the light of day only through fiction, I think I’ve come across the tool that can streamline this enough that it may really happen.
You can have a look, if it sounds interesting. If it’s as good as it’s looking tonight, may be a thing for Scrivener to take interest in for an integration, which I don’t think would be a big challenge.
Meanwhile, possibly a great way just as is, to choose what should be put into Scrivener Resources, as you build up an article or a chapter.