The Unclear Impact

I am once again back on the disappointment train of trying to find a reference manager (software, but maybe just a system?) that meets my needs.

I keep swinging between an app like Zotero, or using plain text files, but I really want something in between. Just a simple database to let me manage the references, but which doesn’t force me to import all my PDFs into their database (which prevents me from managing them on my cloud drive effectively).

Why does this have to be so hard?

Despite all its flaws (cost, online-only data storage), I’m tempted to just make a database in Notion and be done with it.

I guess another alternative would be to make my own SQL database?

@vortex_egg Maybe a bit convoluted, but would something like work?

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a nice solution for annotating pdfs (except just annotating the pdf outside Emacs, saving the annotated pdf, and pointing org-ref to that), but textual notes work nice, even with equations (than can be exported as LaTeX).


@vortex_egg I believe with zotero you don't have to import pdfs. There are also some CLI tools to manage bibtex files, but I didn't really had the time to explore them, since I'm stuck with Mendeley for now due to my supervisor's needs.

@bd thanks, I’ll see if I can find the option to turn that off in the settings. It wasn’t obvious to me how to do that.

@vortex_egg GNU Recutils might fit the bill