How do other scientists stay organized?

LYNDA lcallico at
Fri Jun 3 22:19:45 EST 1994

In article <terra.117.000B5D35 at> terra at (Terra Goodnight) writes:
>From: terra at (Terra Goodnight)
>Subject: How do other scientists stay organized?
>Date: Fri, 27 May 1994 11:21:46

>This probably doesn't belong here but I couldn't find a really appropriate 

>I'm not sure if I'm just looking for a particular software item or general 
>life advice, but I'm just wondering how other people deal with stacks of 
>reprints & xeroxed articles that accumulate during their life in the lab.

>Right now I have them filed by first author in my desk in hanging files.  But 
>sometimes I wonder if they should be by last author.  But then I think, 
>sometimes there are two "last" authors, i.e., collaborations, yada yada.  
>Other people in the lab have them filed by "subject" but some subjects are 
>massive and hard to subdivide.  There's no right or wrong way, but as the 
>drawers grow fuller I sometimes think maybe I should make a computer file 
>somehow that I can search through to look up articles I know I have, but whose 
>author I've totally spaced on..

> We have something called "Reference Manager" for DOS, but it's old fashioned 
>and clunky and generally seems like more trouble than just flipping through 
>all my papers until I find what I want.  Is there any better software (or even 
>a windows version of that program?) for organizing all the references you 

>Hopefully soon, all journals will be available online and I'll never have to 
>keep a hardcopy again and I'll just have to figure out how to organize my 
>disks :)

>anyway, as everyone can tell i'm procrastinating which is when i do my best 
>organizing.  just thought i'd solicit advice from those wiser than i.


I use Procite. I won't swear it's the best reference manager, but it works 
well for me.  If anyone in our lab wants to quickly find an article on 
something I am interested in, they often include my database in their 
literature search. If I've got an article on their topic of interest, I can do 
a keyword search and find the article in seconds. I arrange my papers by first 
author in a filing cabinet. I have the alphabet divided up into folders and 
put the papers in the correct folders in random order. That way I only have to 
flip through a small number of papers to find what I want and I don't have to 
worry about the impossible task of keeping my papers completely in 
alphabetical order.  I have over 300 papers and I can always find what I want. 
I can also, of course, quickly put together a reference list in any journal's 
format.  Like any DOS program, Procite isn't completely intuitive. You 
definately have to read the manual. Once you learn it, it's easy. The reason I 
prefer to use a DOS reference manager is that I can run it from a batch file. 
Whenever I exit Procite, I am prompted to insert my backup diskette. Pkzip 
then updates my database backup. If I didn't do any updating, I can cancel the 
backup with Ctrl C. I like this system because it forces me to keep my backups 
up to date. If you don't feel like writing a batch file to do this sort of 
thing, you might want to look for a Windows reference manager. There is one 
that I see advertized in Science, but I can't remember the name.

-------------------------Everybody got mixed feelings----------------------
------------------------About the function and the form--------------------
--------------------Everybody got to elevate from the norm-----------------
                                            ---(Not Limbaugh)

Lynda Callicotte
lcallico at

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