Recently, I've been playing around with Mendeley, a pdf file manager. It does have some very neat features: it allows one to catalogue their pdf files in one database, it keeps a copy of the catalogue (and files, up to 500 MB) online, it inludes an internal pdf browser and provides nice search & filtering options, it allows one to share groups of pdfs with up to 10 other people; it is also possible to comment on pdfs and share those comments as well. Another nice feature is that the package includes a file manager which (if you want) can organize copies of imported files, so that you end up with one organized folder with all your pdfs and positions in your catalogue are linked to them. You can also decide to generate a bibtex file (or bibtex files) as you go, if you like to use LaTeX. When you add files, you can automatically do a google scholar search for file details, it works pretty well. Overall, I think the authors have done a pretty good job. I decided to import all my pdfs into the database. The whole thing, however, is in its beta stage and there are some minor issues - here are some remarks:
- There is no explicit "work offline" option, and if you change the library and restart the program, it connects automatically with the server and uploads the changes. Sometimes, I'm connected with internet only by a wireless stick, and I don't want my library to automatically synchronize with the server while adding pdfs and editing pdf intro.
- The program crashes once in a while (in my case, it's more like 3-5 times a day). Luckily, no data loss occurs.
- The bibtex file that the program generates is kinda weird, you have to take a look at it and correct it by hand. File links in Bibtex don't work when you open the file with JabRef. In the original database it's difficult to make a distinction between those capitalizations that are to be preserved in Bibtex. If you imported your files from a bibtex database, in the new database most likely the entries will get new keys. Still, it's easier to correct the entry and copy it to your "real" bibtex file than to create a new one, so I rather enjoy the bibtex-related features.
- The internal pdf browser isn't too elaborate - I wouldn't mind having at least "go to page", "go to next page", "go to previous page" buttons. Also, it would be nice if the browser supported bookmarks.
- The file organizer options, even though they include organizing files into folders by journal, author or year, don't allow you to organize files by collection.
I do think, however, that overall this is a pretty cool stuff and I'm sure, given some time, it will become even better.