This quarter I’ve been doing a lot of research paper writing, article summaries, brief essays and the like for one of my core CS courses. To be honest, I haven’t had to write a proper essay in at least 10 years, though I did my fair share of writing RFP responses, fluff text, and technical writing. My requirements this quarter involve a large (8-10 page) research paper for my Ethics class that is actually really interesting for me, but I was a bit left out on what new tools are out there to support the essay writer these days. Enter Papers for Mac.
Papers is meant to be your one stop shop for writing anything that involves sources. At its core, you’ll want to integrate all of your bibliography/works cited sources into it. You can specify it to watch a folder and migrate them into the local db, or drag and PDF’s or other word processing files. Papers will handle the renaming and categorization of these assets, leaving you to actually do the boring stuff– reading and synthesizing that article.
Making highlights, notes and other annotations to your PDF’s is built into PDF already– Papers simply gets out of the way and let you do what you need to.
If you don’t already have the assets, you can use their search engine to search many common research and scientific dbs all at once. Greater still, for those of of us using University resources, you can use your institutions outbound proxy to grab full-text articles right from this interface. For me, that is the most killer feature currently. Scopus, ACM, JSTOR, CERN… all these and more are integrated in.
When its time to actually cite the works in your document, you can use the simple Papers daemon to insert a citation “tag” into your document. This means that you can specify (and change) the citation format once the primary manuscript is complete. If you’ve ever attempted to have an article or paper published, you know that each publication has its own set of preferred citation rules. This feature makes the whole process a snap.
Papers 3 is available now for Mac OS X Lion, and Papers 2 is still available for those of you running Snow Leopard and above.
Disclaimer: I did buy Papers3 (student discount!!), but I was not asked to write this review. In fact I highly doubt the creators of the app even know about this site.