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Tinderbox Users >> Tinderbox applications >> Bookends vs Sente for Reference Mgmt with TB

Message started by Martin Boycott-Brown on Nov 28th, 2012, 3:42am

Title: Bookends vs Sente for Reference Mgmt with TB
Post by Martin Boycott-Brown on Nov 28th, 2012, 3:42am

I've spent countless hours evaluating these and can save you some time; just go with BE.

Hmm. There is a phenomenon known to psychologists called the False Consensus Effect. Basically humans unconsciously overestimate the degree to which other people agree with them. I would only say that I used Bookends for several years, and when Sente brought out their improved version (6.5) I switched over with a sigh of relief and never a look behind. Bookends did the job, but using it was like walking with grit in my shoes. The interface may have improved, but every little job seemed to take so much longer in Bookends. Another incentive to abandon Bookends, however, was that there are some nice scripts for pulling information from Sente into Devonthink Pro. Overall, I don't think I could bear going back to Bookends. But not everyone will agree with me :).


Title: Re: Literature review/sensemaking of scientific papers
Post by Ted Goranson on Nov 28th, 2012, 4:37am

I prepared this reply before Martin's testimonial. Different perspectives...



You have to drag the entry's row from the library browser, or (I recall) from the icon in the reference window.

Why do I like BE over the others? a few reasons.

* I do mission critical work with it and when I get stuck, a lack of support from the developer can be disastrous. This developer is very responsive and helpful. For this reason alone I recommend it.

* Over the last year, I have needed to do some very unusual things with my DB. Every time I ask how to do something weird, I get a response back that the feature for this esoteric thing is built in, sometimes with two options on how to proceed. There is much polish in this. Much.

* I use Mellel for print documents. Bookends has a very handy integration with Mellel such that as soon as you enter a reference marker (via command Y) the document is immediately scanned and the reference entered in the reference section. This sounds like an unnecessary luxury, rather like electric windows in a car. But once you use it, you wonder why it took so long.

* They have a kickass iOS application. Just kickass. After carrying my entire curated reference base in my pocket on my phone for a couple months, I broke down and bought an iPad ahead of schedule. Were it not for Bookends today, I would have waited for what Mark is working on for the iPad.

* I dont know if the other reference managers support the option-drag that I use with TBx, but I think the Bookends guy actively works with other developers. I know he did with Mellel, Tinderbox and DevonThink and that on their forums you hear people asking for the others to act like Bookends.

A different topic. Regarding any of the apps that extract info from the PDF or that supplement from Google scholar...

I've found these to be no help. I'm not sure what sort of work you will be doing, but my reference database is very manicured. It takes a lot of work and you have to do it manually, helped only by macros.


Title: Re: Bookends vs Sente for Reference Mgmt with TB
Post by Peter Rich on May 23rd, 2013, 11:20am

I'd be interested in your Sente -> TB workflow. I've used Sente for years now and recently have switched my note-taking to Sente from Skim, esp. by using their wonderful iOS app. How have you set up exporting notes and then importing them into TB?

Title: Re: Bookends vs Sente for Reference Mgmt with TB
Post by Martin Boycott-Brown on Jul 5th, 2013, 6:27am


Apologies for not having answered this sooner -- I didn't have notifications turned on, and I only visit these forums rarely, so I only stumbled on your question by accident today.

To answer your question briefly, I don't have a Sente->Tbx workflow.

I use Devonthink Pro Office as my main research repository. It will accept just about any kind of file, you can highlight text in almost any application and clip it straight to DTPO, and it has excellent search tools. Of course, once one has collected the information, one needs to make sense of it, and that is where Tbx is useful (for me). So I tend to conceptualise DTPO as my main data repository because of its capabilities in collection, storage, and retrieval, while Tbx is an analytical tool. Other people will do things differently, but that is what works for me, given the kind of material I collect, and the way I need to work with it (I work in psychology and history -- lots of pdfs! -- and as an aside, DTPO will even OCR a pdf that hasn't got a text layer -- very useful.) There is an AppleScript that will take notes from Sente and copy them to DTPO (http://www.complexpoint.macmate.me/Site/Sente_6_Notes_to_DEVONthink.html). That was what I was using to get the two programs to work together. Nothing stays still for long in the world of software, however, and I've since moved on to using Papers2 as my bibliographic database (encouraged by a massive discount!)

All the best,

Title: Re: Bookends vs Sente for Reference Mgmt with TB
Post by Mel on Sep 8th, 2014, 3:54pm

Hi Martin,

I hope this finds you well.

I too use a combination of DTPO and Papers2. I'm just starting to use TB and I wondered if you might know the answer to this - is there a way to 'import' the bibliographic information for a PDF into TB? For example, let's say I have a reference in Papers2 and I'd like to make a note container with the date, author, year, journal etc info, is there a way to do that fairly seamlessly? Or do I need to enter in TB manually?

Thanks for your help!

Title: Re: Bookends vs Sente for Reference Mgmt with TB
Post by Martin Boycott-Brown on Sep 9th, 2014, 3:11am


Thanks for your good wishes -- reciprocated!

I don't think there is an easy way to do what you want, though I may be wrong. As I understand it, Papers 2 is not applescriptable. However, Rob Trew (houthakker on various forums) wrote a script that directly accessed the SQL database in Papers 2 in order to extract certain information and send it to Devonthink. The script may be found through this page:


There is a link to it. You may be able to alter it to extract the information you want, put it into a text file, and then import that into Tbx. If you don't have the skills with applescript, you might find someone on one of the forums who is generous enough to help.

Incidentally, things have moved on since I last posted here. After the Papers 3 disaster I decided to get out, and (with gritted teeth) I found myself using Bookends again. One thing that has changed is that I now have an iPhone, and Bookends is about the only solution (pace Mendeley, Zotero, etc) that will permit me to have my database on my phone as well.

Best of luck with it,

Title: Re: Bookends vs Sente for Reference Mgmt with TB
Post by Mel on Sep 9th, 2014, 10:10am

Thanks, Martin! I appreciate your help  :)

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