Most users of SciPlore MindMapping (including me) use JabRef to manage their references. However, I always was thinking about switching to Mendeley because they offer automatic extraction of metadata from PDFs which saves lots of time when creating your bibliography. But Mendeley is not that compatible with SciPlore MindMapping and has some other shortcomings, so I always sticked with JabRef and accepted the time consuming and annoying task of typing titles, author names etc. manually.

But now this will change: our team just created a modified version of JabRef which is able to extract metadata from PDFs. What does that mean? Well, whenever you find a PDF on the internet, you store it on your hard drive, drag&drop it to JabRef and then JabRef will automatically find the right meta data (authors, title, journal, year, page numbers, …) and create a new BibTeX entry which is linked to the PDF file.

And this is how it works:

1. Go to www.mr-dlib.org (more information about this new project is coming soon), download our version of JabRef and install it.

2. Open the software and drag&drop one or several PDFs somewhere on the table which lists your BibTeX entries.

3. A dialog will open in which you select “fetch meta data from Mr. dLib”.

4. The next steps should be self explaining :-)

If you need a PDF for testing take this one. This should definately work. If not, please contact us.

And maybe the best thing: Our modified version of JabRef also accepts drag&drop directly from SciPlore MindMapping. That means you can drag&drop a PDF from SciPlore MindMapping into JabRef, there the metadata is extracted and a BibTeX entry created and then you can access the BibTeX data directly in SciPlore MindMapping. This will dramatically improve your workflow (if you don’t know about how to use SciPlore MindMapping and JabRef for managing your academic literature and drafting papers read here or check out this video)

Some words about how all this works in detail: The meta data extraction does not take place on your computer but JabRef will transfer your PDF to our server on which it will be analyzed. Our server then returns the extracted meta data. In most cases (I would assume something around 80%) you should get at least the title. And if your PDF is an article in the field of computer science you have a good chance to get much more information. However, we are constantly improving our algorithms and database. And btw. we will not store your PDF on our servers or any information of it. Once we have analyzed it and returned the meta data to you it will be deleted from our server.

UPDATE 2010-09-26

We have talked to the JabRef team and our new features will be integrated into the official JabRef version soon :-)