Going back to school again – a shopping list | The Thesis Whisperer

Hardware and software list for new PhD students. It’s a good starting place. (I guess February is the start of the new academic year “Down Under.”)  Source: Going back to school again – a shopping list | The Thesis Whisperer

My additional suggestions:
1. Reference manager software is essential. EndNote is radically overpriced and behind in terms of features, but unfortunately is standard in certain fields. There are open source alternatives (Zotero). I use Bibdesk, which is only about $50.

2. A document manager is also essential. And I disagree with her comment about using a different manager for each source (PDF, web pages, etc.) To start with, Evernote is an OK but very lightweight document manager – it is not easy to find things once your library gets large (I have > 10,000 documents, but that is after years in academia). Better alternatives are:

  • EagleFiler
  • Devonthink (much more complex and correspondingly harder to learn, but also more powerful. For example, you can link to specific locations inside documents).
  • Both of these allow you to store ALL kinds of documents and to easily display, search, reorganize, and annotate them while still in the main application. For web pages, you have the option of storing as HTML, or converting to PDF.
  • A third option, which went through years of bugs but is apparently now OK, is Papers (papersapp.com). But it only has native support for PDF – everything else has to be stored as PDF. Still, if I were starting over I would give it a serious look.
  • Finally, Bibdesk or other reference managers may be OK for managing documents, although I’ve never tried it.

Scrivener and its ilk for writing you have discussed elsewhere.

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