Journal Papers, What do You Do?


Traditionally, I print EVERYTHING. My study is testament to that fact!
But, for this PhD, I want to find an efficient safe way of storing and documenting journal papers. I would like to hear from you what your method is. I am a pen and paper gal, I like to scribble and take notes, however....the printer is working overtime and the stationary bill is climbing. Any great ideas very welcome....


Oops, spelt stationery wrong


If you use endnote, you can store the pdfs in a folder and link directly to them via endnote. You can also store notes about the paper in endnote. And you can use key words that then become searchable. You can copy and paste these in from the pdf.

If you don't want to go to all that trouble, you could just store them in a folder with a prefix keyword, e.g. semiotics_funky discourse.pdf and then you can use Windows Explorer to search for 'semiotics' and so on. I usually find it useful to prefix downloaded pdfs with the date also so I can sort them by date to look through them. e.g. 070419 Today I downloaded this one.pdf.


You are right.....endnote is great!! But my problem is that I had an extensive endnote library already before this new version which has this "paper adding " feature came out.....and linking all those pdfs now is really a pain....

I recommend just putting all the pdfs in one folder with a common nomenclature format...its simple and it actually works!!


Thank you, I am going to look into EndNote today, I really have to get more electronic with my papers, I will see if there is a trial I can download.


Well done. I could not imagine writing up without it. Nightmare! The sooner you start using it, the better.

I had a mini milestone yesterday and loaded my 1100th reference onto Endnote. It was a special moment. Not as special as the 1000th, but it still made me happy for 10 minutes.


There is actually a share ware called JabRef which is similar to endnote BUT you won't have to pay. It works well with OpenOffice but I have no experience whether you can export into Word (but Word is horrible anyway to write long documents )


Thanks Oz, will look into it.

What about Reference Manager vs EndNote, anyone used RM? I bought it back in 2002 but have to confess, I didn't use it more than a searching tool at the time. I have downloaded a demo of both to compare them. My poor computer, I am also downloading a demo of SPSS as my version was linked to my MSc at the OU and not a full version.


I empathise with the pen and paper thing. Although I use endnote and like having papers in pdf as it makes them easily searchable, I ended up printing out all the stuff I've read, just so I could scribble on it. I also find I 'remember' things from papers I've read as paper - I see the relevant bit in my mind on the paper. Just doesnt work electronically. And reading stuff on the screen gave me a headache! And (another plus for paper), I kept re-organising my filing system as I went along, and as ideas emerged (but mine is a theory based PhD, so all ideas), it was a way of thinking through things.

Give the electronic stuff a go, but if it doesnt work for you go with printing stuff out. Yes, it means accumulating a lot of stuff, but you need to find the way of working that suits you.


Wow Piglet 1100, I have something to aspire to now


Aliby, I do everything on paper. I have a filofax, not an electronic thingey, I make lists, I print everything. I also find I remember well from paper and my eyes just start streaming if I look at a screen too long. Also, paper is portable. I will probably end up organising on here but still printing everything off but at least I will have two versions.


I print mine out as well. I don't know about this modern stuff of linking a pdf to Endnote . I just find paper easier to read and remember from too. Problem is, I now have 17 box files full of papers cluttering up my study and I have no idea what I will do with them all when I graduate.

Free To Good Home, 1100 journal articles on bacteria.


Oh you do make me feel better. I have 12 box files , 4 drawers, 2 zipped cases, 3 more boxes from my MSc, Pg Dip and BSc and that is just what I can see from here. I have tried throwing them all out and end up sitting on the floor reading the article and thus endeth the clearing out session. Who knows what this place will look like in 3 years time!


First I tried to keep electronic copies and only print the most important ones to save paper and ink. For the last year or so I've been printing almost everything, as I realised saving my eyes is more important then being environmental. I find it so hard to read from screen, it is killing my eye-sight. Another problem with reading documents from screen is related to how the document is prepared. Some are just prepared for print or photocopied (i.e small serif fonts, blurs when enlarged etc), therefore even more difficult to read on screen.

One link on Endnote, and usually one copy printed. I also put 'p' label on EndNote to the ones that are printed.


I need the physicality of the paper to flip through and comment on, fold over, dump on the coffee table, curl up with in bed and on the sofa and stain or spill coffee over. I need to feel as though I'm doing something real. SO I print out. And 6 months in I have 3 ringbinders bursting at the seams.