Papers Solves PDF Problem

Though Penn State is better known for its engineering than its liberal arts, some of us have had more papers than final exams in the last week.

As diligent researchers, JSTOR is often the first place we search. For those of you who don’t know, JSTOR is a digital archive of scholarly journals. You can find articles there on everything from Jesus in Islamic art to string theory, but when you download them, you get PDFs with names like 192874.PDF. I know that my desktop is a mess right now with poorly labeled PDFs all over it.

@PSULibs tipped us off to a really cool program called Papers that solves this problem. Basically, Papers is iTunes for PDFs (though iTunes already handles PDFs, just not that well).

The New York Times blog The Wild Side elaborated on Papers.

The idea is that, when you download an article, it goes into your Papers library. The bibliographic information immediately appears; so does, if you’re lucky, the “metadata” — like the abstract and the list of subjects that the authors thought their article touches on. (I say “if you’re lucky” because this doesn’t always happen automatically.) The document itself gets neatly filed in a folder on your hard drive, and renamed by authors and year. Gone are the days of 456330a.pdf and sd-article121.pdf. Hallelujah.

We’re sold, except on the price. The NYT says that at $40, Papers is pretty cheap. Maybe they have forgotten what $40 is worth when one is in college (we’ve calculated its worth to be approximately six large Pokey Sticks). Maybe our friends over at ITS could make Papers part of the standard lab Mac software suite…

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.

Penn State Board Of Trustees Approves 2025-26 Fiscal Budget

The budget features increases between 1-4% for tuition, housing, and food for most students.

OS Reviews: Penn State In College Football 25

Whether our staffers loved playing in Beaver Stadium or beating Ohio State, here’s how they found the newest EA Sports game.

Reintroducing Onward State’s Penn State Football Student Ticket Exchange

Whether you’re trying to offload a ticket you don’t want or making sure you get to sit with your friends, Onward State’s ticket exchange is here to help.

Other posts by Davis

Penn State and the Process of Life

To paraphrase Mark Twain: The reports of higher education’s death have been an exaggeration. American universities produce more research and relevant knowledge for the world at large than any other institutions I know of. Tuition may be too damn high, but over the long-run, undergraduate degrees are definitely worth the cost. But Penn State could be so much more. It used to be, I think.

Bonded in Blue, White, and Worry

43 Simmons