Managing papers and bibliography databases at the command line

My approach to managing papers and references is to have single folder containing all my pdf reprints and a BibTeX format bibliography database file. I use a python script called papers to manage my database and create BibTeX entries with cross referencing to the pdf files. The papers program can extract the doi information from a pdf file, gather information online to create a BibTeX entry and store a renamed copy of the associated pdf in a folder; the new file name and location is included as a ‘file’ field of the new bibtex item added to the database file. Papers can even do this recursively for a folder full of pdf reprints. Very cool. Installation is easy. First clone the git project:

git clone

then use the pip python installer to install python dependencies

pip install unidecode crossrefapi bibtexparser scholarly fuzzywuzzy six

and install the poppler pdf rendering library. On mac OSX this is done using brew

brew install poppler

Then run the python installer in the cloned papers project directory

python install

To test whether the program is installed successfully type

papers -h

which should produce the output

Bruces-MBP-2:~ bruce$ papers -h
usage: papers [-h]

library management tool

positional arguments:

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit