The scientist's toolbox 2: building a bibliography

This is a time-consuming activity for a scientist: digital tools can greatly speed up the gathering and management of documents.

The first step is the search of references, infos, data about a given topic. In my opinion, there is nothing better than Google Search (or any suitable general search engine). I have tried the internal search form of several editors or even Scopus and did not find the point in using them. But finding the right document is the longest step in the creation of a bibliography. The search by key words can take time when one does not use the best key words. The use of a dedicated scientific social network could enhance this search.

The second step is to collect and management these documents: My favourite tool is, without hesitation, Zotero ( The transfer of the documents and its metadata is clean and fast. I can quickly build my bibliography once I have access to the document. When I have to gather some webpages or non formated info, I also use Evernote which is a kind of secondary memory.

But I am still far from being satisfied by the features offered by digital tools. They could be even more helpful. For instance, the note-taking part of Zotero is rather poor and not reliable (partly due to the pdf format). I would like something intuitive, where I can write, highligh draw. And more important, where I could compare my notes with notes from other readers. The social aspect of document reading (we could even call it reviewing) should be even more important. Mendely tried something in this direction but with too much shyness. The right approach is, I think, given by SelectedPapers (, above plaftorms and above networks, decentralized. For the moment, it is not very liked by physicists, probably due to its rather "arid" presentation, so much enjoyed by the mathematicians (troll open).
In addition, I would like to be able to establish clearer relations between the documents of my bibliography: Science is based on the discussion between ideas, i.e. discussions between articles, books and so on. For the moment, a relation between two scientific articles is trivial: one number and a reference to this number. It could more visual, more explicit.

Therefore, there is still plenty of room to develop tools which can really help the scientist!
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