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Tools and ideas to improve academic efficiency

Academic Software Roundup for Linux

The open-source spirit (not to mention non-existent pricetag) of the Linux OS is appealing to many academics, I daresay, but they (myself included) may be hesitant to switch over to an entirely new operating system, devoid of their favourite programs. Mac users have an array of delightful programs for academic work (DEVONthink, I’m looking at you), but even us Windows users have some favourite standbys. Why make the switch over to a new system if we can’t find programs to handle our academic tasks?

I did some prowling through a very useful list of Linux apps to see if the functionality of the most important academic programs could be duplicated in Linux.

Referencer
PDF Manager, Citation/Bibliography Manager
Replacement for: Yep, Papers, EndNote

Referencer

gPapers
PDF Manager, Citation/Bibliography Manager
Replacement for: iPapers, Papers

gPapers

KeepNote
Note-taking software
Replacement for: EverNote, OneNote

KeepNote

BasKet
Note-taking software
Replacement for: EverNote, OneNote, UltraRecall

BasKet

Alexandria
Book-cataloguing software
Replacement for: Delicious Library, Books, Book Collector

Alexandria

A couple of cross-platform programs to remember if you’re considering making the switch: Zotero works on Linux, as does Mendeley.


Addendum: Some bonus Linux software links from helpful commenter Xonan!

Zim
A desktop wiki under constant development

Okular
PDF reader with highlight and commentary features

cb2bib
Extracts bibtex data from the clipboard, PDFs, etc

kdissert/semantik
Mindmapping software

Argunet
Java software for building argumentation maps

Integrate Zotero with gedit
Plugin for gedit text editor that allows to add citations from the Zotero bibliography manager to LaTeX documents

Thanks, Xonan!

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Filed under: Academia, Bibliographies, Bibliography, Books, Computer, Gnome, Linux, Open-Source, Organization, PDF, Software, Tools, Ubuntu

Fluxiom: is it the solution to online PDF organization?

Fluxiom

I thought I’d found the answer to all my PDF organization needs when I stumbled across Fluxiom. This online file management/DAM solution offers the ability to upload, tag, and search files from any computer to a hosted account.

I thought that it could be a good centralized solution to DevonThink for those of us on Windows, with the added bonus of being available from any computer. Sort of like a personal Google Books.

When I saw the price, I’ll admit that I winced a bit. Nine euros for the lowest-level plan seemed a little steep. However, the site design is amazing, and the functionality seemed well worth the price.

The About page boasts that Fluxiom provides “Full text search: Fast search inside documents like PDF, Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and others.”

However… once I scrolled down to the bottom of the Overview page, I discovered to my dismay that only the Basic (29 euros/month), Pro (89 euros/month), and Deluxe (169 euros/month) plans offer the full-text search feature.

For me, the full-text search within documents was the major selling feature. And 29 euros a month is rather a stretch for any academic budget. The 9 euros I might be able to justify to myself, but 29 is a bit much…

Do any readers have an alternative online PDF organizer they’d like to share? (Or does anyone have any friends at Fluxiom who we could sweet-talk into providing full-text search on the Private-level plan?)

Filed under: Bibliographies, Books, Files, Online, Organization, PDF, Research, Tools, Web

LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

LibriVox

Librivox offers free public domain audiobooks, available for download in MP3 or OGG format. This collaborative project boasts an impressive selection of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and drama. Good for the commute– you can download one of those classics that you always meant to get around to read.

If you’re looking for a bit of early-morning cheer on a chilly winter morning, I’d recommend My Man Jeeves or Right Ho, Jeeves, both by P. G. Wodehouse. If you’re feeling slightly more ambitious, there’s always The Canterbury Tales (War and Peace is still in progress).

Filed under: Books, Computer, Online, Reading, Web

Make eBooks for your iPod

Via this web application, you can convert both text files and websites into notes readable on your iPod.

This might be a clever idea. Or it might be a very speedy way to make yourself go blind.

Create ebooks on your iPod
[ via Lifehacker ]

Filed under: Books, Computer, Files, Online, Reading, Tools, Web

Tips for off-screen reading

Every student has experienced the neck pain associated with “extreme reading.” Just what is the most comfortable way to sit when reading articles/books for hours on end, anyway? These various tips from Lifehacker readers might help to cut down on the number of neckrubs needed.

Tips for off-screen reading
[ from Lifehacker ]

Filed under: Advice, Books, Reading, Research