iTunes has recently exhumed some of my latent obsessive compulsive tendencies, but I'm glad to share that my entire music collection now has all the correct album artwork, track numbers and consistent punctuation and capitalization.
My documents, however, are not so organised. There are over a thousand
.pdf files of journal articles on my hard drive, accumulated legitimately through university access or free content of course, some of which I've even read.
The trouble is that many of the filenames are the name of the author of the article, or just a meaningless number, and searching for a particular author or subject is clumsy at best through finder or explorer.
What's needed is an application that .pdf files of journal articles can be selected and dropped into. The program would then gather information from the text and present them in a similar way to what iTunes does with music, but with sort fields for journal, date, title, author , etc.
There are reference managers that do similar things, but as far as I know, only for manually entered citations and not for complete articles.
I'd want the program to do something like this:
10 Have a look at all those files that have just been imported.
20 Make a list of them.
30 Using some clever algorithm, take the first one in the list and find a random bit of text in the body, about 20 words or so to be safe.
40 Put those words in double quotation marks and paste this into a Pubmed (or other relevant) search.
50 The first hit is probably going to be the article in question, so click on it.
60 Here you'll find all the information about the article you need. Take note of the journal, date of publication, issue number, page numbers, title, authors, institution and abstract if available. I think Pubmed's formatting is consistent enough for you to find this easily enough.
70 Go and find a decent resolution image of this article's journal cover for the issue concerned.
80 Create a modifiable tag with this information for this particular file.
90 Move on to the next file and keep doing this until you're done.
100 If you have difficulty finding the information, let me know with a polite message box. I will find the information for those files manually, but give me some useful places to look first.
110 When done, put it all together in a visually pleasing way for me to browse my files along with some standard reference manager tools.
I'd be interested to know why something like this couldn't be done.