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Workflow question - how to handle hardcopy paper sources?

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Workflow question - how to handle hardcopy paper sources?

Postby mgc1987 » 2017-09-02 18:13

System information: [ Citavi Version 5.6, Windows 10, English, -, -, - ]

This is more of a workflow question - how do you handle integrating hardcopy paper sources with the electronic sources you have collected?

Citavi is great for electronic sources (articles, eBooks, etc.), but I'm struggling to find an efficient way to use hardcopy books and papers in conjunction with the electronic sources.

Has anyone sorted out a good way to do this?

Re: Workflow question - how to handle hardcopy paper sources

Postby Sonja_Schwab » 2017-09-02 18:43

I have all my sources in Citavi - electronic as well as hardcopy paper sources. For Citavi there really is no difference if it's an electronic source or not. Books are easy enoug to add via ISBN and for most publications title information can be found in online databases. The rest I add manually in Citavi. Publications for which I do not have access to the original pdf I usually scan with OCR. Same with relevant pages from books I use.
Citavi Expert

Re: Workflow question - how to handle hardcopy paper sources

Postby mgc1987 » 2017-09-02 20:39

Sonja - thanks for your reply.

So as you read hardcopy sources, you'll scan in the pages with the content you end up citing? Can be fairly laborious to scan several books in I figure.

Re: Workflow question - how to handle hardcopy paper sources

Postby Sonja_Schwab » 2017-09-02 21:09

Yes I guess if you cite a lot out of books that can be quite a lot of work. In my area of work citing out of a book is rather a last resource if it is really impossible to find an original publication on the topic. So the workload is easily manageable for me.
If you do not want to scan all those books you are using you can still add the title in Citavi so you can use it as reference while writing. You just can't create knowledge items out of a pdf as you do with electronic sources and you have to create them manually instead.
So in the end the question is which option requires more work and if you prefer to have all your information collected at one location (the Citavi project) or if you always have the books you use at hand for future reference.
Citavi Expert

Re: Workflow question - how to handle hardcopy paper sources

Postby Damien Reddy » 2017-09-04 12:22


Thank you for your inquiry.

As Sonja correctly pointed out, working with printed material will require you to add the title manually. However, hard copy books should be outfitted with an ISBN number, which Citavi can recognize. Simply enter the ISBN number (screenshot 1, 2), and Citavi automatically adds the bibliographic information from the catalogs you've selected.

Likewise, a printout of a journal article may also list the corresponding DOI name or PubMed ID, which will also be recognized by Citavi. Many academic journals make it possible to download a digital version of an article online.

Adding PDF documents to your project is of course not required. If you need to copy a lot of text from printed sources, a scanning pen can be a good investment. Just scan across a line of text in a book or article. When you lift the scanning pen, the scanner's software automatically performs optical character recognition (OCR) glossary to change the scanned image into editable text.

This is an imperfect process, and it depends on the quality of the print (newspaper is particularly difficult to scan) as well as how smoothly you scan the pen. The scanned text is then inserted in Citavi. You can use any corded scanning pen. Scanning pens with internal memory are more difficult to use. If you only need to scan now and then, you can also use a digital camera or the camera on your smartphone with OCR software.

Another alternative to typing is speech recognition software. Windows Vista and later include basic speech recognition software, though for frequent use you may want to consider commercial speech recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking. However, speech recognition software requires you to "train" the software to recognize your voice's peculiarities. You should expect to spend approximately one hour doing this.

Kind regards,

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Damien Reddy
Citavi Customer Service

Re: Workflow question - how to handle hardcopy paper sources

Postby mnaah » 2017-09-20 04:37

I research in a field that is split 60-40 in favour of books over journals, so I've had to deal with this a lot. This has led to a number of conclusions for me:
  • Either I use Citavi for everything, or I use it for nothing. It's a great tool and I love its power, but I'm not going to allow the chaos of using multiple referencing systems.
  • Initially, I used the summary knowledge item to take typed notes on printed works, and then extract from that the key points into individual quotes. Although this became too unwieldy for me. So now, I read through a chapter and use post-it flags to mark possible points and quotes. Then after I finish the chapter, I go through and take the 2 to 3 most important ones. Unless the work is something I am interacting with a great length, I will never need more than this. I then type those quotes into knowledge items.
  • My one exception to this is when I am taking notes on commentaries on primary sources. Then I keep a separate file on each verse that has all my notes from the commentaries in one place. In this case, it allows me to see a vast amount of related information quickly, and I build myself a resource that I can reuse later. (I know that it would be possible to do this in Citavi, but I was using this other method long before I moved from Zotero to Citavi.)

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