Few would argue that the most important point of a scholarly manuscript is made in its figures and tables. I am going to share with you how I capture figures while reading scholarly information on my Mac. This workflow uses:SkitchPapersInstall Skitch and make sure, in Skitch Preferences, to enable the “keep Skitch Helper running in background when I quit,” and “Start Skitch Helper when I log in to my computer.”As I’m reading scholarly literature and come across a table or figure I want to save I do the following. I make the figure as big as possible on my screen. Then, from the Skitch menu in my menubar, I select the Crosshair Snapshot. I then select the figure (and sometimes the caption) trying to balance the white space surrounding the figure.Next, I go to Papers, select the reference in my Papers Library, and then from the Edit Menu:Copy As:Reference.I return to Skitch and double-click at the bottom of the figure then paste the reference text. I then balance the text. The height of the Skitch figure will expand to accomodate the new text.When I want to refer to or use the table or figure I view it directly in Skitch or find it in Evernote. Using this method, I can also search for words in the reference (e.g. the author’s name or the title of the manuscript) and sometimes even the words in the figure itself.If I want to use the figure in a presentation or to send it to a colleague or trainee I can export the figure from the Skitch File Menu.Using this method I’ve captured hundreds of figures. I hope this workflow helps you too.
In previous entries I've written about my love of Papers and how I use it for all my grants and scholarly writing.One of the features I use constantly is called Papers Links. This is a brief code (looks like a URL) that links back to a particular manuscript in your personal library. Here is an example:papers3://publication/doi/10.1097/AIA.0b013e3181eace73Papers Links are available in Papers by highlighting the manuscript, then using "Copy As" under the Edit Menu, right clicking on the paper of interest, or using the keys: Shift- Command-L.
Combining Papers Links with Launchbar is nothing short of awesome. I annotate everything I extract from a manuscript with a Papers Link and a Papers Citation. When writing, I can highlight any Papers Link, hit my Shift Key twice to invoke Launchbar Actions (as I discussed in this entry). The double shift copies the highlighted text to Launchbar--the orange tab shows that Launchbar is awaiting an Action Command.I hit Tab Key to bring up the context sensitive menu.I select Papers and hit return. Papers launches directly to the paper of interest.I use Paper Links in all my extracted annotations—it makes it lightning-fast to use a reference when writing, and to be able to dig deeper into the original reference as needed.I also use Papers Links when I copy figures or tables from a manuscript using Skitch / Evernote. The Papers Link allows me to quickly find the manuscript with the embedded media element when writing or preparing presentations.I use Papers Links constantly when writing. I hope you find them helpful too.