Sente 5 beta

As years went by, I’ve tried a lot of bibliography software to manage the few hundreds of references that clutter my hard drive. I stuck with JabRef for a pretty long time while I was on a linux machine, but after I decided to go the mac way, and after some trials and errors, I finally settled on a combination of Bibdesk (very nice interface and organization tool) and Endnote (mainly for its Word integration – see P.S.). I’m still on the lookout for better, all-in-one alternatives like Papers (which is nice, but v. 1.0 is too PubMed-oriented for what I do). Today during a deep clicking session I stumbled upon the public beta of Sente 5 – which looks NICE:

Sente 5 beta

(this is more or less how it looks like right after importing the endnote database – I just switched to the right+bottom viewer using one of the bottom-right icons)

The general feeling of the app is pretty good (you get all the relevant info in one window, reference *and* PDF); the default look for the reference information is totally lickable (and strongly reminiscent of Papers). Adding a reference needs a little getting used to, since the dialog is… pretty unusual, but it works, and at least attemps to solve the number-of-authors-can-go-from-1-to-57 problem. Apparently this beta integrates with any word processing software that handles RTF (Pages, OpenOffice, etc) and integrates natively with MS Word and Mellel; Word integration looks to be at least on par with EndNote’s. It has plugins for PubMed (of course) but also for the Web of Science as data sources (which I won’t be able to test before I’m on campus). The number of provided reference styles is lower than in EndNote, but it’s still large, and the styles are relatively easy to edit.

Editing Reference Styles in Sente 5

As the screenshots do not show, there is also a simple search feature (I mean that as a compliment) and a rather unusual browser mode, which tries to mimick iTunes’ while being more flexible (you can choose the content of each column on-the-fly). I’m not sure how much I’m gonna use that last feature, but it’s innovative. I can’t say I’m definitely gonna pay for this after the trial period is over (at $129, Sente is pretty expensive) but it’s definitely an application to follow.

P.S. I know MS Word sucks. But right now, it’s the only processing software on the Mac that handles the doc format in a PC-compatible way (duh), can track changes, AND has line numbering (a pretty dumb feature, but very useful for article review). Regarding that last feature, Apple’s suggestion on how to achieve the same thing in Pages is either funny or insulting, depending on your mood.

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