Better way to fix and Incomplete entry?

Hello All,

I’m in the process of migrating from RefWorks to Paperpile. I’m a PhD student in the beginning stages of dissertation-writing, so I really want to get my workflow and reference management sorted out from the beginning. So far I’m really liking Paperpile.

I am having a problem with creating new entries, however, and I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong. When I import a PDF, the information for the entry will often be incomplete. And I’m trying to figure out a way to make them complete and correct without having to just type everything manually. I’ve tried:

  1. importing the full reference as RIS and then merging the two duplicates. I was hoping that this would merge full metadata with the PDF, but instead I just get the PDF with incomplete metadata.
  2. Opening the entry using the Paperpile link in Google Scholar — I thought it might notice that the Google scholar entry has information that’s missing from the existing entry, but it doesn’t.

Is there really no other option than manually typing? Or am I doing something wrong?


Hi, Karen, welcome to PP! Please provide the citation as an exemplar. My understanding, based on my experience as a user, is that different websites have different amounts of metadata. What I have found is the best way to get the most metadata is to search for the paper on GS, and then click the PP button. Apparently, somehow GS is able to find the sites with the most metadata (which PP then picks up).

Then you can use any of various methods to attach the pdf to the PP database entry - upload from your PC, auto download, google search, or navigate to the website, click on the PP icon, and add to the PP entry.

Okay, thank you. I was trying to save time by uploading a bunch of PDFs, but it looks like it’s better to create the entry first from a source with good metadata, then upload the PDF.

yes, I understand that. I think pdfs are difficult to get metadata from, plus they dont include much. I dont know the file format, but I do know that html files include fields specifically for describing metadata.

The extraction of metadata from PDFs usually works pretty well (unless they are very old). Occasionally, I need to update the metadata (Shift +A) which can be done in small batches.
I would upload the PDFs first (which should work for most papers) and then resolve the incomplete entries.
I hope this helps!

I’m in a similar position, have used zotero and mendely before, but found different problems with both of them…

Not sure if I’m just not finding it, but when you get an “incomplete metadata” from the pdf, something that actually works great in Mendeley is just to put the DOI and tell de program to look for the rest of the metadata. Same thing could be done with the arxiv url, right? all the info should be freely available there…

Can you do something similar to fix metadata in paperpile?


I think you are referring to auto-update?