Aggregation is fun, and also a mess

I’ve recently submitted my Wenner-Gren grant proposal and now am finally returning to normal, including collecting hundreds of articles for my dissertation database, updating this blog, and my duties for various professional organizations.

This evening I posted the first in what I hope becomes a series for the World Archaeological Congress’ International Student Resources blog, Student Stories. Some of the stories will be bios, but I recently got the idea that some dirty diggers style stories would be nice. Who hasn’t had a cringeworthy run-in with a professor, fallen into a shaft feature, or become tongue-tied when meeting an academic idol? I’m guessing it’s not just me. I’d love to hear more funny stories and earnest ones, too. Send them (anonymously or not) to

On the research front, I’ve got over 600 public archaeology articles and book chapters in my dissertation database. This is the first step before I have to go through and weed out those which don’t fit my examination criteria. BUT the good news is that I am going to save this database and share it in multiple formats for you all to see. (That was one of the conditions of starting with Dr. Carol McDavid’s biliography!)

I’ve used a combination of Mendeley, Zotero, Endnote, and Google Chrome apps and found that Mendeley is the best tool of the bunch for retrieving metadata, although it is still a bit clunky to do. After all that experimenting I came up with an easy auto-citation and pdf organizing process. This is something one must do when doing a dissertation made up of 1000+ references. Thought I’d describe it briefly here in case anyone else wants to use it.

You will need: Mendeley desktop (free reference management software) and Download Router for Chrome

1) Set up Download Router so it saves all PDFs into a subfolder of your download folder (or anywhere you want)
2) Set Mendeley up to watch that folder
3) Mendeley will auto-add the PDFs to your library and you can edit their metadata, search for more fields, drag into groups (like, say, dissertation folder)
4) Go to your Tools/Options menu in Mendeley and set it to organize your PDFs into a library, choosing what fields to use for naming folders and files, if you want
5) You can get the Mendeley Importer extension for Chrome if you want to also grab citations from websites and send them to folders in Mendeley, even without the PDFs

Now you, too, can download hundreds of publicly shared academic documents on without having an organizational panic attack! (3 tags down, innumerable more to go…)

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