Papers is a Mac sofware aimed at simplifying the management, searching and reading of scientific litterature. It’s more or less iTunes for your science papers — you can browse through them by authors or journals, include all the relevant information (e.g. an author’s contact address or email, a journal homepage URL) and “match” a paper PDF with its bibliographic information using a built-in search facility that connects to bibliographic databases such as Web of Science or Google Scholar. It includes a nice full-screen PDF viewer. Papers has already been reviewed at The Apple Blog or Ars Technica, and a slideshow explaining its development can be found here.
Unfortunately, until now you couldn’t actually create a bibliography for your own writing efforts using Papers — you still had to rely on additional software such as Sente (my favorite), Bookends, BibDesk (latex-oriented but versatile) or even Endnote. This meant you had to manage two separate bibliographic databases, which requires duplication of effort and information, which leads to errors, confusion, chaos, depression and, eventually, rejected articles.
But everyone should rejoice, as the new beta version (1.7) of Papers, apart from a very nice generally speedup (obvious on my Powerbook G4), now includes the option to export a selection of papers into Word 2008 as elements of the main bibliography source:
Once this is done, the papers appear in Word 2008′s citation manager:
As the manager itself says, double-clicking an element will insert a citation at the typing point into the Word document. Creating the final bibliography is just one click away:
End result: a very nicely-formatted bibliography.
From my (admittedly limited) testing, Papers 1.7 and Word 2008 appear to be a very strong end-to-end combo for the management and use of scientific bibliography during writing. Of course, this means using non-free, proprietary and (worse of all) Microsoft software, so this solution might not work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.
(for those wondering if they should upgrade Word, it is worth it if only for the fact that Command-left and Command-right now go to the beginning and end of a line, as they should.)