Question about Database slowdown and best practice


I have a lot of eighteenth-century primary source texts in PDF. These are facsimiles from eighteenth-century works taken from standard subscription databases such as Early English Books Online.

The files are quite big in terms of number of pages – sometimes up to 400 pages, though typically in the 30 - 70 page range.

They are also larger in file size as they are facsimiles rather than modern, text-based PDF articles.

I’m never sure where to store them. Whether in my reference manager or simply in my file system in my computer. Or even to do a combination, such that the citation is in Paperpile and the file in the file system.

However, my principle question is this: if I was storing several hundred of these files in PaperPile would I experience any Paperpile / database slow down, given the size of the files, such as when scrolling through my database etc. Would anymore processing power be needed from my computer to use Paperpile?


No the size of the PDFs will not affect the performance.

It can take longer until they are initially synced to Google Drive. But once a file is uploaded all we store in our system is a link to the file on Google Drive. That does not slow down anything. Also the speed of your computer is not really relevant as all time sensitive database lookups happen on our servers.

We aim for a response rate < 0.5 seconds to load the main list and we typically reach that even if you have tens of thousands of papers.