PC bibliographic software responses, summary

Michael Holloway mhollowa at ic.sunysb.edu
Fri Jun 11 14:06:48 EST 1993

Below are edited copies of the responses I received to my request last week 
for information regarding bibliographic software for DOS (preferably Windows)
machines.  Thanks again to everyone that responded.

Judging only from the responses (I have no hands-on experience with any
of these programs) there are three catagories of choices available:

1. Roll your own.  If you already have database software you may be 
able to adapt it to provide most of the functions of the specialized 
packages.  Ewen McPherson's message describes his own reference database 
that uses Q&A.  If you use a Windows wordprocessor, MS Access should be 
ideal since you'd be able to link it to your document.

2. Cheap and functional.  Papyrus was recommended several times though
one user pointed out that it is slower and less user friendly than some 
other software.  From the description in The Scientist review, Papyrus 
has the same features as Reference Manager and Endnote.  It's price 
though, $99, no hidden costs or modules, makes it stand out from the crowd.  
There is no Windows version but it's reported to 
work well under Windows and works with MS Word.  If you send e-mail to
RSD at applelink.apple.com you'll receive more information from the suppliers.

3. High end.  Reference Manager and Endnote both have many happy users and 
both have Windows versions.  Both are also expensive, weighing in at over 
$500 (without discount or site license) for a fully functional version with 
all the modules.  Both are marketed by the truly annoying method of offering 
the central engine alone at a lower price.  

We are ordering Refman for Windows and crossing ourfingers.


I use Reference Manager (DOS version). It is an OK program with
some limitations, such as unable to recognize journal lists from
usenet. My major complaint would be its speed. When importing a
MEDLINE serarch result, I sometimes have to use another computer to
do the processing so that I can work on something else. If possible,
try to compare real products with a big file and see if you like it.
Other famous products include EndNote Plus.

Good luck.


There was a discussion about Refman vs EndNote vs some Unix bibliographic
software about a month or so ago. You could probably use WAIS to find it.
(I haven't done this yet myself - maybe I can give it a try on your request)
If you don't have WAIS at your site, there is GOPHER access, as well as
sites you can TELNET to. Check the FAQ that just came out today.

Bobbie Peters
User Liaison
(This was in bionet.software.  Point your gopher at merlot.welch.jhu.edu

I have been really happy with EndNote on the Mac.  If you are familiar
with the Scribe bibliographic system, or the LaTex bib system, EndNote
will look very familiar and comfortable.  The same product is
available for PCs, and I would imagine it is essentially the same
program.  The mac price is 1/3 or less the price you quoted so I
figure the PC price should be around that also.  You can contact them
at nilesinc at well (I'm sorry I don't recall the full address of the
well, but if you have trouble contacting them, ask me and I'll look it
The Scientist just did a piece on this very subject comparing the various
softwares available.  The Scientist is available through my universitiy's
mainframe via gopher, thus I don't know the specific gateway... sorry

(gopher UICVM.UIC.EDU  -Mike)

I know about suffering of being a poor lab, because I'm a poor student. One day
I figured out that there was an enormous quantity of papers in my shelf and I
really didn't know what did I get. So I obtain four reference managers from a
Shareware CD-ROM called Simtel 20. Any one of them import files from SilverPlatte or other databases, except one that also files in MedLine format. The names are:
1. Global Literature Search
2. Papers 2.02
4. I cannot remember now, I am mailing you from the University

I know they are very low level reference managers but they are OK for a student.Mail me if you would like any information. I remain, sincerely yours,

Diego Martin Burrieza
bd4a at zorzal.edu.ar
(I have not reviewed these.  -Mike) 

We use reference manager.  I like it because they continually update it.
Some colleagues used another package that was discontinued, and thus 
they were stuck with, what is now, an antiquated piece of software.

I can import data from a large number of sources, and bibliography
generation is easy and fast.  The bibliographies do require occasional
editing (Jr. and III at the end of a name is not handled well).
Reference retrieval is very fast.  Reference update (from the same
company) is like current contents on disk.  It can directly transfer
data to refernce manager.


Anyway, I use  Q&A, which is an all-purpose very simple database
which I have configured to be CD-ROM compatible, and it delivers
printout in Harvard Format, although you can get it to do just about
anything if you want to.

Advantages; It's quick to learn, easy to configure for how you want
it (which is something that most purpose-builts won't let you do; I
have various little notes and codes on the main reference form for
quick use . Also, being a GP package, I use it for other datbases too
(like my strain references, chemical ordering etc), Comparatively
fast (we timed it against a CD-ROM and it only took 5 seconds more on
a three-work keyword search, running on a 486-33). Levels of access
(3) mean that the computer-illiterate can use it fairly easily
without chance of fatal error. This also means that everybody in the
lab can have their own personal database, which we merge into the Big
One about once every month, avoiding a lot of duplication of effort.
It will take downloads from CD-ROM very easily. CF Cheap ( ...
 or you can pick it up for around $200).

Disadvantages; Highly "unfashionable"- Nobody else I've come accross
uses it, since they all seem to prefer the purpose-builts;- Which is
fine if you have the cash but we've found that the flexibility and
ease of use that this package allows leads to continual evolution and
improvement of what we can do with it, wheras the PBs keep you stuck
into one format. If you'ld like a look, e-mail me back with your
snail address and I'll send you off what I've got; Our DB is approx
3000 refs big, in the field of Soils and Microbiology, but I'll send
you a smaller one just to let you see how it works.



*         "Beam Me Up, Scotty,                    *
*               This Planet Sucks !"              *
* Ewen McPherson, Research Assistant              *
* e-Mail: EWEN at whmain.uel.ac.uk                   *
* Snail : Environment and Industry Research Unit  *
*         Department of Environmental Sciences    *
*         University of East London               *
*         Romford Road, Stratford,                *
*         London E15 4LZ                          *
*         United Kingdom                          *

Hi Mike,
we use Papyrus, which works O.K. in Windows, however I was told,
that EndNote is better (Papyrus costs about half the price you mentioned).



Before expensive packages buying you can try to use my
free soft. Now I put for distribution only SEQANALREF
variant (A.Bairoch database) but I can do the same
with my main reference databank which contains all
what currently present on BIOSCI BIO-JOURNALS.

By anonymous FTP on site FTP.SCRI.FSU.EDU in
directory pub/genetics/seqanalref/.

If it's OK let me know please - I prepare BIOSCI
var for free access.


Our lab used Reference Manager for Macintosh, but we preferred much more
EndNote Plus.  I do not know how windows versions of these programs compare.

Eugene Shpaer



Try Papyrus. It costs $99 (including S&H), it works well with windows-based
word processing programs, and the manual is reasonable. Actually, the author,
Dave Goldman, is from Buffalo.

I just finished a grant application using it , and I can't imagine how I
got along without it!

(I am not affiliated with Papyrus, but even if I were, I wouldn't make anything
This thing is so (relatively) cheap for what it does that I don't see how they \
can make any profit.)


Bob Bienkowski
bienkowsk at qc

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