Zettelkasten Forum


Help me choose a Reference Manager

I need help choosing between BibDesk and Zotero as my Reference Manager on the Mac. Any suggestions/recommendations for one over the other?

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Rishabh

Reference Manager Poll
  1. What is your Reference Manager of choice?22 votes
    1. BibDesk
      31.82%
    2. Zotero
      45.45%
    3. Bookends
      22.73%
    4. Other
        0.00%

Comments

  • BibDesk is Mac-only. You may not care now, but if you ever work with other people and need to work together using a group library, you will!

  • @cobblepot said:
    BibDesk is Mac-only. You may not care now, but if you ever work with other people and need to work together using a group library, you will!

    I am building a PKM for myself, so it would be just me (no group).

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    Rishabh

  • The other thing is I found Zotero takes up noticeably more memory compared to others.

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    Rishabh

  • @cobblepot said:
    BibDesk is Mac-only. You may not care now, but if you ever work with other people and need to work together using a group library, you will!

    Why? You could just share the BibTex-File or?

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:

    @cobblepot said:
    BibDesk is Mac-only. You may not care now, but if you ever work with other people and need to work together using a group library, you will!

    Why? You could just share the BibTex-File or?

    There are different degrees of "working together", I suppose. People can copy-paste plain text and email it to each other at one level. Another level is sharing a BibTex file. But with Zotero group libraries you can have multiple people change individual entries at the same time and have changes synced to local libraries (without having to sync the entire large library), as well as adding and edit each other's notes and file attachments. It also retains the same unique item IDs across different users' libraries to keep citations straight when working on group documents.

  • @cobblepot Ok. The need for features. :smile:

    This would be a matter of preference. I like it simple.

    I am a Zettler

  • You might want to check out Jabref

  • Hi. The goal is to build a PKM for myself on a Mac. I am using a copy of The Archive and need a Reference Manager to go along with it that is easy enough to use. The extent to my "technical skills" is knowing Markdown; I don't know LaTeX. I want to pick a reference tool now and forget about it. I was hoping the poll results would sway me to one application over another, but since posting this thread, I am none the wiser. Please advise. // @ctietze @sfast

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    Rishabh

  • I use Zotero. I enjoy its user-friendly interface, where I can organize references into folders (it allows multiple storage), and it has a very handy feature for auto-creating entries using ISBN and DOI numbers.

    Also, I keep my Zotero library synced to a BibTex file using the BetterBibTex extension.

    Does that push you over the edge?

  • Hi. Thanks for responding. My main concern with using Zotero is its memory usage. It's taking more than 300 MB compared to other managers.

    Can you export your Zotero library to a different application like BibDesk or Bookends in case you stop using Zotero in the future?

    What is a BibTex file? Why are you syncing your library to it?

    @argonsnorts said:
    I use Zotero. I enjoy its user-friendly interface, where I can organize references into folders (it allows multiple storage), and it has a very handy feature for auto-creating entries using ISBN and DOI numbers.

    Also, I keep my Zotero library synced to a BibTex file using the BetterBibTex extension.

    Does that push you over the edge?

    --
    Rishabh

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BibTeX

    BibDesk is an interface for editing a BibTex file. If you run into memory problems with Zotero, you can export your Zotero library to a BibTex file and open it with BibDesk.

  • @rishabh My recommendation is BibDesk. It is simple yet has all the features one need. I am a bit of low-power user myself. It is easy to use for the not so tech-savvy.

    I am a Zettler

  • I'm very late to the party here, but another vote for BibDesk. (I had Zotero for a while but I stopped using it for some reason; don't remember exactly why.)
    You can have it autofile your papers in your library; you can even store some notes in it. And, if you ever use latex for writing, you'll already have your bib file ready.

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