Looking over the huge directory of papers that I have collected, I notice that it gets harder and harder to categorize papers in a purely hierarchical system. As my supervisor said, papers often contain different orthogonal subjects at once. On the other hand, often you come accross a paper that looks interesting and you do not have time to read, so it ends up in Unsorted, which slowly grows and grows.
Therefore, I think it would be ideal if there were some system that allowed one to easily categorize information. Currently I’m not aware of any. The sort of features that I would look for are:
- The ability to annotate files with information (be they pdf or ps, but why not html-links as well?).
- Have some easy way of calling up the files and reorganize them without having to duplicate the work in the tool as well as in the filesystem.
- Have the ability to have a hierarchical tag system. By that I mean the ability to organize tags in a hierarchical way (and possibly even visualize them in some sort of graphical way to see where your major set of papers reside, indicating that perhaps that needs to be categorized more, although each item that is actually coordinated by the system can be categorized with different tags. This, I think, combines the power of tagging with the power of a hierarchical system. Besides, I do believe that in the world of research it is possible to categorize tags into a hierarchical system. If anyone disagrees, of course, I would definitely be interested in their point of view.
- Have the ability to annotate other paper-specific items, such as the author list, possibly a list of references (linked to the other papers in the system if they exist, and otherwise creating an empty entry), the abstract and personal comments.
- Lastly, of course, the ability to search, either by author, institute, tag or keyword either in the abstract or comments.
- A desireful, though not necessary, feature would be the ability to have this application communicate with others (not necessary online, but maybe through some patch system) to allow people to share their own categorization.
If anyone has any ideas regarding such a system, I would definitely be interested in hearing about it.