[OS X TeX] Papers or BibDesk?

Simon Spiegel simon at simifilm.ch
Mon Apr 30 05:17:37 EDT 2007

On 30.04.2007, at 11:00, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 29 avr. 07 à 21:18, Oliver Buerschaper a écrit :
>> On the other hand BibDesk is rather stable and for my purposes it  
>> does a good job keeping all my references together. However, I  
>> miss a few things like being able to group papers into  
>> subcategories of first level groups. But still BibDesk has been my  
>> number one choice for quite some time (and will probably remain so  
>> for a little while ;-)
> Do you mean it's possible with BibDesk to group papers based on  
> various types of metadata, and then to filter out and sort them and  
> prepare lists of the output? That's the kind of things I did more  
> than a decade ago with FileMaker Pro (not for papers, it was for  
> organizing a conference), but I'm wondering whether BibDesk could  
> do this.
> To be more specific: below are examples of lists I do currently  
> through tedious cut-and-paste, which is clearly sub-efficient:
> <http://homepage.mac.com/bvoisin/.cv/bvoisin/Sites/.Public/ 
> Gorodtsov-All.pdf-zip.zip>
> <http://homepage.mac.com/bvoisin/.cv/bvoisin/Sites/.Public/ 
> Gorodtsov-Waves.pdf-zip.zip>

It depends a bit on what you mwan by "various types of metadata", but  
you can certainly do complex searches and have the result displayed  
as a list with BibDesk's preview. Or you can export the data in  
various formats with BibDesk's export functionality (as HTML, RTF and  
some others).

> Is this possible to do the same with BibDesk (without having to  
> perform some TeX or BibTeX programming, that is)?

That depends on what you mean by programming, of course. Do have a  
list the way you want you need a proper BibTeX style, depending on  
your needs you'll have to finetune an existing (although thanks to  
the biblatex package, this has become rather easy). Or you have to  
adapt the export templates.

> That's the kind of functionality I'm interested in for BibDesk at  
> the moment, together with the ability to organize PDF paper files  
> (group them in folders and subfolders, move them from one to the  
> other, a bit like you manage messages and mailboxes in email  
> software) and associate the medata for each paper to the  
> corresponding PDF file.

You can do most of that stuff, except maybe the moving of the PDFs.  
Normally, you'd just define a place where BibDesk puts your pdf. You  
can tell it where to put the PDFs (subfolders named in a way defined  
by you). So it's not really "a file manager for PDF" but a way to  
have your PDFs automatically and centrally organised. As for the PDF  
metadata: The problem here is, AFAIK, that there is no real standard  
for metadata inside PDFs and XMP isn't so easy to write.
> Originally I thought BibDesk was just a GUI for BibTeX, but  
> according to what I read in this list I have the impression BibDesk  
> has turned into a full-fledged bibliographic management tool, using  
> BibTeX as its underlying "database" engine.

BibDesk never really was a "wrapper for BibTeX (the program that is)"  
and BibTeX is not really a "database engine". BibTeX as an app is  
used for sorting the bibliographic data for your LaTeX document.  
BibDesk merely gives an GUI for the *BibTeX file format*. The BibTeX  
format is really very simple, its a flat text file which you can edit  
with every text editor. That makes it very easy to write, but it also  
means it's limited. BibDesk is kind of passive in regard to BibTeX.  
It let's you edit your BibTeX data in easy way, but it wont interfere  
with what you do later with your data.

In short: It's certainly worth to check out BibDesk. In many aspects  
it matches or excels commercial bibliographic software.


Simon Spiegel
Steinhaldenstr. 50
8002 Zürich

Telephon: ++41 44 451 5334
Mobophon: ++41 76 459 60 39


"Was soll aus mir mal werden, wenn ich mal nicht mehr bin?" Robert  

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