Openmeta tags, DefaultFolderX and Papers

A simple search is usually sufficient to locate a reference in Papers2. It is triggerred from any application by pressing Ctrl-Ctrl and typing search terms (e.g. author’s name or title). This is excellent for citing, emailing or quickly consulting individual articles. But what if you want to see or share all materials on a specific topic? In principle, one can create thematic collections or assign keywords in Papers but these only include documents stored within the Papers Library. This excludes notes, emails, presentations, images and other content. Therefore I prefer to assign Openmeta tags to all files stored in my Papers2 library.

Assigning Openmeta tags is best to do while saving email attachments or downloading documents. The best app for this purpose is DefaultFolderX (it does many other great things as well). If I download a file which I want to place in my Papers2 library I assign the Openmeta tag “papers” as well as all relevant thematic tags.

The “papers” tag tells Hazel to automatically open the file in Papers2.

Papers2 then tries to automatically match the file to online bibliographic databases. If only a single match is found (as in case of most proper academic articles) Papers2 automatically moves the file into its proper directory (/Papers2/Author/…). Otherwise I manually match or edit the reference later. But whatever happens to the file it already has Openmeta tags and thus can be found and displayed together with other digital content with the same tags.

If you want to assign or change Openmeta tags for files which are already within the Papers library you have to right-click the relevant reference and select “Reveal file in Finder”. After the file is shown in Finder I use Tags to tag it. I simply press ^T to bring up the tagging window and select or type the tags I need. Check my other entries on reference files to read more on tagging.


About Aleh Cherp

Aleh Cherp is a professor at Central European University and Lund University. He researchers energy and environment and coordinates MESPOM, a Masters course operated by six Universities.
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4 Responses to Openmeta tags, DefaultFolderX and Papers

  1. Graham Hill says:

    Thanks for this great tip. It had not occurred to me to use DefaultFolderX and Hazel, to add the references to Papers 2. I too prefer to use Openmeta tags to tag documents, and so was manually adding my references to papers, then tagging them using Tags once they had been imported. I can see a new workflow on the horizon.


    • Aleh Cherp says:

      Graham, I am so glad it was helpful! I think the very last version of Papers can automatically import all pdfs added to a designated folder. That would make Hazel unnecessary but then you would miss a chance to OpenMeta tag your file when saving it. Another method of quickly adding stuff to papers is to create an “Open in Papers” bookmarklet in Chrome. So you open your pdf in Chrome and just click on that button. Very fast, but the same disadvantage of not being able to tag the file itself.


  2. Pingback: Papers 3: moving in the wrong direction? | Academic workflows on Mac

  3. Pingback: Trying Sente instead of Papers. Two annoying setbacks. | Academic workflows on a Mac

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