Restoring lost PDFs / fixing syncing

I seem to have mangled my syncing: somehow I ended up with several Paperpile folders in my google drive. I tried the naive approach of putting all “Z” PDFs in the currently active Z folder and that didn’t seem to work (makes sense, due to PP’s privacy privileges being limited, which I appreciate!). So I deleted all the paperpile folders except the one that seemed to be actually mine. Nevertheless, there are a LOT of Paperpile entries in my library that say “View PDF” and yet the PDF is not available (I get the error: “Something went wrong, could not open file” and none of the related troubleshooting for that message fixes my problem).

Is there any way to recover from this situation? If I have an endnote library with the PDFs can I somehow reconnect them or bulk-upload them and have them match to the right references? According to the PP help guide, “if a PDF matches up exactly with an existing item in your library, Paperpile will automatically attach the PDF to that item instead of adding a duplicate entry.” but I don’t know if that would work in my situation.

If not, can I bulk remove all the broken PDF links in Paperpile so I don’t have to go through this procedure: "click the “Paperclip” icon to view the attachment for a given item, then click the “Remove” link beneath the filename. "

thankfully I didn’t have any PDF annotations so if I need to re-fetch PDFs I can probably get many of them freshly. But many came via email, etc. so it’d be nice to restore a lot of them at once somehow.

I’ve been using PP for years now without really ever looking at the main app interface, just using it from within Google Docs. My admin figured out how to import my plain-text notes from endnote into my paperpile library, so that’s great. I finally had time to poke into the PDF storage and see what’s up with it. Sometimes people in my lab share Google Drive folders with me and then transfer ownership to me in bulk so I end up with random strays and I think that might be what confused me in this case, I had several Paperpile folders “owned by me”.

Overall, it’s not a crisis, it’s just I wanted to start using PP as a true reference management tool for PDFs and my text notes so I’d like to whip things into shape if possible!

Thanks for the details, Anne, and sorry about the trouble. After consulting the dev team, I’m afraid I don’t have any automated solutions to offer. We can see about 188 files in your Google Drive (including folders and trashed items) out of a total 901 attachments, the rest of which we don’t have access to.

We are actually in the process of backing up all users’ PDFs on S3 to prevent this sort of mishaps (it’ll be like having a ‘fail-safe’ backup from which to re-sync); your library was included in this update but it seems we were only able to fetch 154 files. Before moving forward, I would suggest you go to the Paperpile site, click your email on the top right corner > Settings > Storage & Sync > Resync and Clean up - with some luck, that could recover some additional files.

If by any chance you have a PC containing local copies of the files (or some of them), the automated upload might pick them up. This is a remote possibility because many of the files had not been touched for quite a while - but worth a try if possible.

The ability to bulk-remove the broken PDF links is not yet a reality, but it’s on the team’s latest list of features to be included. I can’t promise a specific timeline for implementation, but this thread will certainly bump up its priority :+1:t4:

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Let me know if there’s anything else.

1 Like

No worries! Thanks for looking into it. After the Sync and Clean up you suggested, I’m up to 155 files :slight_smile: I’m sure it was fundamentally my fault that things got mucked up and they are mostly old references so it’s ok if the PDF links are broken; honestly finding/removing broken links ‘would be nice’ but is definitely not as urgent as most of what you must be working on.

At least I know things are as tidy as they can be now that I intend to actually use PP to keep my notes about papers going forward!