So yesterday I posted about how I switched over to JabRef reference software, mainly because it allows relative links, but also because it easily lets you see and edit the BibTex entry, which as a LaTeX user, is very helpful. There are two things JabRef does not really do that Zotero does that I find really useful:
1) Zotero can easily capture reference information from a variety of website formats, even if no Bibtex or RIS entry is provided
2) You can drop a pdf directly into Zotero, index it, and then retrieve the reference information automatically, assuming the article is online somewhere
If the article's webpage has a BibTex or RIS entry available for download, you can simply download this and import it into your JabRef database, but I have noticed some journals still do not offer this service (shame on them!)
So this morning I have been happily using Zotero to collect reference information I find online and to auto-generate some entries based off some PDFs I already had. Once I am done, I can export to a RIS file and then import that RIS file to my current JabRef database. My BibTex keys are automatically generated on import, so I simply select the new entries, go to Tools -> Scan Database -> Sync Files and any new PDFs I obtained during the day will be linked to their entry in JabRef.
I keep my Main.bib file that is my current JabRef database inside my folder with all my reference PDFs. At the end of the day, I can simply commit the whole folder to subversion. Everything is not only backed up, but when I checked out the folder on my Windows machine, all my PDF links will work perfectly and I won't have to tweak my database one bit!
I used to hesitate putting all my PDFs in svn, but our school server is pretty huge and the 1 GB or so of PDFs that I have now does not even make a dent. Plus, after hearing from a friend how he lost his whole PDF database and had to go download or even scan (yikes!) all his references again, I decided backing up all my articles in svn was not only OK, but necessary!