Paperpile – My Second Citation Manager

I have been having an issue with citation managers. I still use Endnote, but that was for my longer projects. However, I wanted to keep my other references for all my other writing and second-brain resources. I needed a second citation manager.

Why not just a second Endnote library?

Endnote is great but for smaller or ongoing projects I needed to:

  • Be able to leave the default output style alone and not have to add a lot of custom metadata
  • Syncing is less complicated
  • Automatic lookup and import or quick capture system
  • Work with Google Docs
  • Store PDFs in Google Drive automatically

I had tried Zotero and although it did a lot, there were still a few things I had to do manually which impeded my workflow. One of these was that Zotero only allows you to add new references by manual entry. Though you can only look up journal articles through the app at the moment – if it is another form I need to do it on my laptop but that is still way better than Zotero, as far as the app. If it is something I need to do on the laptop, I just create a Todoist task.

Also, I like to think I am one of these people who say they don’t care what an application looks like as long as it works, but that would be a lie.

Paperpile vs Zotero

While they are similar, there are a few things that make a huge difference for me. The UI (User Interface) is a little bit more organised in Paperpile. I am also someone that enjoys my whitespace. Because of my disability, it can sometimes be hard to focus on text if it is all bunched up. The larger text in Paperpile, along with each label having its own row is much easier me to read.

It may not seem like much having that extra size is a bonus. I like how I can toggle less or more information. Also, there is mass labeling for multiple items in Paperpile which makes things easier to file.

So far, there has been nothing that I cannot capture. Some things have required trial and error (like turning off my VPN so it would recognise the metadata) but that was easy enough. It can handle Spotify podcasts, tweets, blogs, and newsletters – those are what I have tested that aren’t advertised.

As someone who just moved over to Google primarily, having Paperfile automatically organise and store my papers there is wonderful.

I have created a separate collection where I store all my blog posts or newsletters, even if it is only for my records.

Yes, this will be another subscription – however, with what it does and offers, it is a worthwhile investment.

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