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I have a huge collection of PDF. Mostly it consists of research papers, of self-created documents but also of scanned documents.

Right now I drop them all in one folder and give them precise names with tags in the filename.

But even that gets impractical, so I am looking for a PDF library management application. I am thinking of something like Yep for Mac, with the following features:

  • PDF cover browsing (with large preview, larger than Nautilus allows)
  • tagging of PDF (data should be readable cross-platform)
  • possibility to share across network (thus rather flat files than database)
  • if possible: cross-platform

Mendeley seemed to be a good choice, but I am not only having academic papers and don't want to fill it all metadata that is required there.

The only alternative I could find thus far is Shoka, but the features are limited and developments seems to have stopped already.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

One possibility is Calibre.

It is an ebook management program which permits conversion to various ebook formats but is cross-platform and can manage databases of pdf files (and not only).

If you decide to install I suggest you do so manually as the version in the repos is not very up to date. Follow the instructions on the site.

A screenshot: enter image description here

Another possibility is Zotero

It is is bibliography manager but permits adding book details directly through a browser Amazon.com and other sites, pdf attachments and more.

Zotero Chrome extension

To import the pdf's into Zotero you can see this page.

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I used Calibre before, but it had massive performance issues when I had not more than a few 100s of PDFs. –  Martin Betz Dec 15 '12 at 15:44
    
I retried Calibre, and yes, it has massively improved on performance. But it fails on all PDFs that are not books - and most of mine are no books - because of its required fields. –  Martin Betz Dec 17 '12 at 11:35
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Have you Tried Gnome Documents?

GNOME Documents is a standalone application to find, organize and view your documents.

Documents

Install via the software center

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Referencer (GNOME) is a simple tool for managing document collections.

Tagging is possible.

It tries to find metadata on arXiv or via DOI, but you can add metadata manually too, of course.

But I guess development stopped.

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Referencer seems good for academic papers with metadata. I use Zotero for that. I however need a document manager for files that I created. –  Martin Betz Dec 17 '12 at 11:53
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