One of the things I have not been good with in my PhD is my PDF library. I have folders with a lot of  journal articles and books all properly named and sorted however I haven’t figured out how to keep track of what I have read and what I haven’t. Patter speaks about  PDF alibi syndrome  here, a problem I confess to having. I think I have found a way to organise my ever-growing list of PDFs so I at least know what I have read and found useful and what I haven’t read.

I found this through one of my literature searches and thought there was no harm in trying it out. As always I love it when it’s a free application since I don’t lose anything in trying it out. The application has no steep learning curve and I got the hang of it really super fast. There is a series of videos that take you through the different functions. I didn’t use these as I found my way using the app pretty straight forward. So it’s a free, very easy to learn to use application, that makes for a happy me. It is available on both the iOS and Android platforms. I have downloaded the application on my macbook, iphone 6 plus and Samsung note 10,1 tablet. So far I have not experienced any changes in how it works across the platforms, which is a great thing.

I have been glad I have ReadCube on my phone when sitting at my son’s swimming class and I can do some reading without needing to carry my tablet with me. I can only anticipate how much more I would love this app if I had the ability to sync my reading and annotations across my three devices. The sync function is available on ReadCube Pro with a price tag of US$55/year. My student budget mind thinks that’s a steep offer but from the look of things it is probably worthwhile. I can see how I would pick up on my phone, which is usually within reach, from where I left off on my macbook in those stolen moments when watching the kids. In addition to Syncing the Library Across Devices, ReadCube Pro offers Unlimited Cloud Storage, Advanced Article Metrics, Advanced File Management, #Tagging, Watch Folders (Easily set up automatic imports of all PDFs saved across designated folders to ensure your ReadCube library is always up to date.)

Screenshot 2015-10-21 10.21.09

What are the handy features I love about the free app: you can do your literature search within the application using Google Scholar or PubMed for your search or you can add PDFs from your folders to the app. The application will keep the filepath and you can view the folder containing your PDF. I am sure this is a good thing I just cannot think how at this present moment. You can also export citations from the app to Endnote, Bibtex and Refman. I use Zotero and it is currently not supported which is my one complaint. Please add Zotero! Lastly ReadCube has a citation tool called Smartcite, which is currently in beta mode. I can see how this would be useful although I haven’t as yet used it. There have been times when reading that I have wanted to write or add what I’m reading to my writing and in that spur of the moment it would be good to add a citation to it.

 I wonder how many people are using this application? I must add this is designed for reading journal articles although I have also used it to read my PDF books. The only glitch when using it with books is that you cannot add the metadata, which you then use with the citation functions. Overall it works for reading and keeping track of what I am reading. I want the Pro capabilities although I cannot justify its cost. I will probably have more to say about this app as I use more and more in the upcoming months.


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