Sente from thirdstreetsoftware is one of the best reference managers in the town. It has some unique features putting it in superior position to most of its competators. The quote-comment-annotate feature of Sente has no real alternative in any of other reference managers and PDF readers. Most PDF reader softwares can annotate PDF documents, but they do not create as such comfortable environment for the individual/academician to read the content and write down his/her own ideas as Sente does. Not only for reading the PDFs, Sente is also a brilliant reference manager. I have been using Mendeley for many years, since its beta stage. Adding metadata to a PDF article has never been as simple as in Sente. Mendeley offers you to extract metadata only from Google Scholar while Sente offers unlimited choices for the user, google scholar, medpub, worldcat (personal favorite), even you can create your own customized Sente to search any obscure search engines (database). There also many other elegant features in Sente such as: hierarchical tags (QuickTags), Status markers, Smart Search (filters), synchronization to ipad and other mac computers, etc that put the application as a perfect companion for the serious academician.
With all elegance and beautify, there are, however, a few trivial issues bogging down the useability of the application; these could also be big turn offs for some people to try it in the first place. I have been using the app for the last few months. I totally love it. And for some of the problems, I have come up with my own solutions, and I am here to share my ways to you.
One of the problems of Sente is putting a 20MB limit for file synchronization. If your PDF is larger than 20MB, it will not be synchronized. One possible work around this issue is to keep your pdf files outside of the Sente bundle, inside dropbox, and let Sente sync only the references. For many reasons, this approach found to be problematic. It is likely that the link between the PDF and the reference or the annotations will be broken. is not the Hence, many experienced Sente users and the developers themselves recommend users to store the PDF files inside its own bundle.
The problem of storing the PDF files is the file limit. The files with larger than 20MB will not be available from distance. That is not a good idea, as many of our files will not be available, specially for those people who like to scan books, this is a bad news as most of the PDFs scanned from books are huge files.
I have solved this problem in two different ways:
1. Reduce the files sizes using Acrobat. If you have acrobat (not adobe), you can reduce the file sizes. Open the files that you want to reduce the size. Then, go to Files, Save As, then Reduced Size PDF. You can then follow the prompts to finish the process. Acrobat also gives you the option to batch process (multiple files at the same time) the files. That is great. Just drop all the files that are larger than 20MB and acrobat does its job. In my experience, it cuts down the files size by 7X smaller, specially if you configure it to make the PDF compatible with 7.0 and later.
2. Syn the Attachment folder in Sente into Dropbox. Sente doesn´t allow you to put the bundle inside the dropbox folder. They said dropbox causes file corruption. That could be true as the bundle is a package of highly delicate XML files that could be easily corrupted during dropbox synchronization. But, synchronizing just the attachments is not a problem by itself as far as I can understand. So, I am using Symbolic link to synchronize only the attachments inside the Sente bundle. Here is how you can do it.
Open the Terminal and write the following text it:
ln -s /Users/username/path to Sente library/SenteLibrary.sente6lib/Contents/Attachments SPACE
/Users/username/path to dropbox/Dropbox/
Make sure you replaced the username by the appropriate username, and the paths by the appropriate paths.
To make it clearer, assume that my name is John and I store my Sente Library inside Sente folder of my documents folder.
John/documents/Sente is where I stored my Sente library
John/dropbox is where I want to link the attachements of Sente
So the above command looks like like the following for me:
ln -s /Users/John/Documents/Sente/SenteLibrary.sente6lib/Contents/Attachments /Users/John/Dropbox/
This command will link my attachments (PDF files) existing in the Sente library into my dropbox folder as Attachments. Then, every time I add new files into my Sente library, the PDF files will be available in my dropbox folder, synchronized to all my computers.
This creates a good working environment if you want to work from distance, or you want to access your file from everywhere, as the use of dropbox we all know. This also exonerates you from the 20MB file limit Sente puts on you.
I hope this helps sb.