Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

A place to discuss Bookends for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
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sherryxiaoxue
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:33 am

Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

Post by sherryxiaoxue »

Hi,

I'm new to bookends and have become a customer for some specific reasons -- I need reference manager that allows syncing between my iPad PRO and macbook pro, on top of other things. After learning to use bookends on both devices for a week (it's not an easy learning process either), I am a little frustrated about bookends IOS for the following reasons.

1. the requirements on where to put your attachments/library in order to make the sync work... I've already paid dropbox for a larger space, and dropbox has become my working space. It is very unfeasible for me to move more than 1000 papers into iCloud just so that I can read and organize them on both iPad Pro and Macbook pro.

2. when i searched for an article on google scholar within bookends IOS, it returned incomplete author names, article name, journal name, etc (see attachment for example). then I use the save button on the top right corner (the one with a downward arrow) to save this reference list in the hope that it will be complete when saved to the device -- it turned out everything is still incomplete. I clicked the webpage button (the first button on the top right corner) and see the complete information, but cannot automatically save the information I see to the library.

I've been using BibDesk for a long time and only switched to Bookends because BibDesk does not have IOS app. My need for the syncing function is so strong that I initially only bought bookends IOS, and then bought the more expensive desktop software later. If bookends IOS does not improve, I might as well go back to BibDesk and ask for a refund for both bookends software.

Thanks for your time,
Sherry
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Jon
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Re: Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

Post by Jon »

You can use DropBox (or any file sync service for that matter) if you restrict syncing to Macs. For iOS, however, it's more complicated because of the sandboxing provisions. It's something we'd like to support and are working toward that end, but it's not available at this time. In the meantime, I don't know how many GB your 1000+ PDFs consume, but there is a free 5 GB account available for iCloud Drive, and 50 GB costs $0.99 per month.

As for Google Scholar, they recently changed the method needed to access the full metadata. That's been implemented in Bookends for Mac (try the same search/import there), and is coming for Bookends for iOS. What you're seeing now is the scraped HTML -- it should improve once we've implemented the new retrieval requirements.

Jon
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sherryxiaoxue
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:33 am

Re: Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

Post by sherryxiaoxue »

Thank you very much for the detailed explanation, Jon. As my career progresses, I'll sure to expand well over the current number of papers. More importantly, Dropbox is something I've grown used to, and most of my collaborators use it so we typically share file/work using Dropbox. If we can get syncing from mac to iPad working, that would be a great feature and I would stop my perpetual search for a perfect reference management software. For now, I guess the best solution for me is to use BibDesk on macbook and PocketBib on iPad. Since PocketBib cannot add reference, when I'm reading on iPad and come across some interesting paper, I'll need to use bookends to add it to the reference and attach the paper, then sync to bookends OS, then export to BibDesk, and finally sync PocketBib on iPad with BibDesk on Mac to be able to read the attachments in iPad....

Thanks for letting me know that the issues with google scholar will soon be resolved! I really liked the one click reference adding on iPad! I also liked how quickly you guys respond to my emails and to this post, and will continue to keep an eye on future developments in your software.

Tom-L
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2022 1:56 pm

Re: Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

Post by Tom-L »

Apologies if this has been debated in another thread. I have just imported my ref base to Bookends and also subscribed to the BE IOS Pro version. As recommended, the library file is in the default folder on MBP and synced via iCloud.
I had overlooked the info in instructions that attachments can only be linked if they also reside in iCloud Drive. Here's the rub. I have used Dropbox for years for my personal files, collaborations sharing etc with plenty space via paid subscription. I have no interest to subscribe to another Cloud service (and increase my dependence on Apple). However, what I actually require is only the ability to click a link to open a pdf to read it on the iPad. I do not need full two-way sync; I do searches, pdf downloads, writing and citing on the Mac.
Is there really no possibility of having links in BE IOS that just allow me to open pdfs on Dropbox where they are at present? Without this, the usefulness of the iPad version is reduced to a lookup by author, title or a checklist of groups, which is not really worth it. I can copy file names manually and locate them by searching Dropbox, but again, that is awkward and does not justify using BE IOS.
I wonder if I am the only Dropbox client with a similar request.
By the way, when importing my library from Papers3, intriguingly, the original file appears in Notes with the former binary filename (e.g. papers3://publication/uuid/49E105C1-A1C8-4322-B732-E5EFEE9292F2) which doesn't even exist any more because I had renamed files prior to importing them, as instructed in ...thirdparty/import/import.html. So this dead and totally useless link is retained in all references. Weird.

Thanks, have a nice week!

postdoctoral
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Re: Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

Post by postdoctoral »

Just as a counterweight, I want to note here that I use Bookends precisely because it does NOT require you to use either DropBox or Google Drive in order to sync with iPad. Those are both plagued systems with a terrible history (and, surely, future) with respect to privacy and security. Even disregarding their security flaws, DropBox has a terrible history of not keeping the Mac app updated, most recently by dragging their feet with Apple Silicon upgrades. Google Drive is putting your data in the hands of Google, which, well, enough said already.

I guess this is just proof that you cannot make everyone happy! I understand that others have built their workflows around those other services, but I wouldn't want the SS team to think we're all clamoring for their introduction...

Jon
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Re: Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

Post by Jon »

Please note that for Bookends Mac you can use Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other file sync service. It's only restricted to iCloud Drive for Bookends iOS. This is because when we created this feature that was the only way to share PDFs between apps operating on both OS's. I don't know if that has changed over time, maybe Serge can comment on that. I understand that one could be reluctant to add an additional service, but note that the first 5 GB of iCloud drive storage is free. And if that's not sufficient, it's only $1 a month for 50 GB. Just sayin.

As for the Papers3 link in Notes. If that's all that's in the Notes fields, after import you can delete them with Refs -> Global Change -> Change Field -> Put nothing into the Notes field of these refs. That's the same as selecting all text and deleting it from the fields.

Jon
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DrJJWMac
Posts: 204
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:04 am
Location: Alabama USA

Re: Suggestions on improving bookends IOS

Post by DrJJWMac »

One improvement I ask while considerations are made to include other cloud services on iOS. Can you allow iCloud sync to be restricted only to selected groups or folders on the macOS? This is the one feature that keeps me using WiFi sync rather than iCloud sync. Even though I also divide my large collections into smaller sub-collections (multiple libraries), I still also sync only a selected set of PDFs across to iOS for any one library.
--
JJW

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