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3 PDF Document Management Tools for Organizing Your Research

Jessica Cam Wong 27-06-2011

The web has seen its fair share of research-friendly tools grow over the past years, which makes sense, considering more people are actively engaging online, uploading documents and photos, publishing blog posts, and more, simply expanding online information. Among these tools, are some very popular services, including Diigo Use Diigo To Help Write Your Next College Essay or Term Paper Read More , the Firefox-only Scrapbook How To Share & Synchronize Research Data To Other Computers Read More , Google Books 10 Ways to Use Google Books for Lifelong Learning and Research Read More , and other How To Make Use Of Research Feature in Microsoft Word 2007 Read More quality research tools 3 Tools To Conduct Better Research On The Internet Read More , which can help you organize your findings when you research for cars 3 Websites To Help You Research or Buy A Car Read More , for homework Where To Research Material For Your Homework Read More , for verifying or debunking science claims Top 5 Websites To Research Weird Science Claims Read More , and a whole lot more.


When you’re in the market for researching academically though, there are dedicated services that will definitely simplify your life. We’re not just talking about  bibliographic reference managers (such as BibMe 10+ Web Tools To Save Your Butt In School Read More ) or catalogue managers like Libra Manage Games, Books, Music and DVDs With Libra Read More , which help you keep track of your gigantic book, DVD, song, etc collection. What we will discuss are tools that help you keep your PDF article library neat and catalogued for use when you have to compose your research paper, so read on to find out which services stand out in this category.

Mendeley [Cross-Platform]

pdf document management

Mendeley is a renowned scientific research management tool and academic social network that helps you index and organize research papers and PDF documents Organize Your PDF Files and Collaboratively Research With Mendeley Read More into a personal digital library of sorts. Not only can you organize your PDF library, but you can also highlight and annotate your PDFs, as well as sync documents across platforms since Mendeley is available for download on Windows, Mac and Linux, and on iOS. Mendeley also has a great web app, which you can use to add notes to a PDF file, as well as edit metadata. What’s cool is that Mendeley extracts bibliographic information, such as PubmedIDs, from your PDF documents, which helps you keep a tidy personal database, complete with searchable information of many kinds.


Zotero [Cross-Platform Firefox Addon]

manage pdf documentsThe open source Zotero not only helps you build bibliography and keep track of your references Websites For Students: 10 Online Learning Tools Read More , it also provides a place for you to organize your PDF article library. Like Mendeley, Zotero can sync Two Easy Ways To Synchronize Zotero Data Read More citations and entries across operating systems and mobile platforms. It also permits the user to bookmark, highlight and add sticky notes to pages, assemble a no-fuss mailing list, index full-text from PDFs, etc. Zotero not only stores PDF files, it also can store files, images, links, and entire web pages.


Benubird PDF [Windows]

Benubird PDF is part Windows Explorer shell replacement, part collection manager. You can use this program to group specific files into collections or even use the Smart Collection feature to automatically group files into virtual folders according to rules you set. By default, there are four empty collections ready for you to make use of, namely, Finances, General, Personal, and Work. You can also put files together into a zip archive from within this program and select specific folders to keep track (“Watched Folders”), as well as what files to show. In this screenshot, I chose to have Benubird monitor my Dropbox folder’s PDF files only.

pdf document management

Filtering files of a certain format isn’t the only unique feature that Benubird possesses, as it also allows you to add tags to any file and edit the PDF details (metadata) without having to open up your PDF reader. Despite the fact that Benubird froze up several times during my test, it is a pretty robust tool to help you organize your PDF collection better. You should definitely check it out (or see the cross-platform Shoka, which is another PDF library manager) if you constantly deal with a huge collection of PDF documents.

If you’re just collecting PDF-based research articles, Mendeley and Zotero are probably the best choices to help you keep an organized library, as they also pick up bibliographic information. If you’re looking for just an easier way to manage your PDF documents only, try Benubird.


What do you use to organize your research and manage your PDF document collection? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock – Spectral-Design

Related topics: Digital Document, Organization Software, PDF.

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