I have to admit it. When I numbered the items on my Dakota Access Pipeline bibliography, I expected it to top 200 by a comfortable margin. But I only had 156 items. It probably seemed like more than it was because I was a bit organizationally challenged on this book. Yes, there were things I did right (yay, me!). But there were also things that I did wrong and with so many PDFs, mistakes add up fast. Here are three tips to help you organize your research.
Whenever I save a downloaded PDF, my computer wants to save it in a “Downloads” file folder. Unfortunately, this file folder is under my user name which is under my drive name. I override this and save everything in my documents library under the name of the manuscript. No, I can’t open these PDFs with Word but I can find things a lot faster when it is all in the same folder.
Many of the PDFs that I used are online as PDFs. That means that I did a Google search, found this awesome article or publication, clicked and opened a PDF. I can include these in my bibliography as “online” and provide the URL. Or I can include them as “PDF of print publication,” which is what I tend to do. When you do this, save the PDF in your documents folder. It’s easier when you need to go back and verify specific phrasing on something. Believe me.
When you save a PDF, save it under the author’s last name and first three words of the title. Yes, wherever you are downloading this will likely have given the file a different name. Override it and save it as something that will be easy to locate when you look on your bibliography and see that you cited John Doe’s “Big Stinking Article.”
Not only will these steps make it easier for you to relocate things, when your editor asks for copies of all your PDFs they will be easy to find and to identify by name. I’m just saying.