Private Alpha of “Docear – The Academic Literature Suite” begins

The Alpha version of Docear is ready to be released and we are really proud of what we achieved the last six months. From the old “SciPlore MindMapping” is nothing left, except the basic idea. Have a look at the major changes and try the Alpha now (if you are a SciPlore MindMapping user – otherwise you have to wait a couple of weeks).

Freeplane instead of FreeMind

The old SciPlore MindMapping was based on FreeMind, a good and popular but not very well maintained mind mapping software. The new Docear is based on Freeplane, a really exceptional piece of software. Freeplane has much more features than FreeMind (e.g. Free floating nodes, displaying images), is much faster, more stable and above all: Freeplane has a great plugin system that allows us offering Docear as a plugin for Freeplane. That means, if a new version of Freeplane is released you can just install it and Docear will work with the new version. You do not need to wait until we have adjusted Docear to the new Freeplane version. Also, the Freeplane development team is highly responsive to user feedback. If you have ideas for new features regarding the mind mapping functionality, the Freeplane team will be happy to hear them.

Integrated Reference Manager

Docear has it’s own BibTeX compatible reference manager. Or better said: we fully integrated one of the best available reference managers, namely JabRef. That means you can directly create references in Docear, add them to nodes (even if they don’t have a link to a PDF), edit references in the mind map and they will automatically be changed in the BibTeX file, and you have all the wonderful standard features that JabRef offers. Of course, you can still install JabRef in parallel and work as you are used with SciPlore MindMapping.

Compatibility with other reference Managers

You don’t have to use our integrated reference manager. You can still use any other BibTeX compatible reference manager as well and also our support for Mendeley now is improved. It is no problem to use Mendeley for managing your PDFs (and extract metadata) and use Mendeley’s BibTeX file in Docear.

Workspace

Docear has a “workspace”. We believe this workspace makes Docear much easier to understand for new users. In the workspace you have several mind maps. For instance, one that lists only your new PDF files. Another one is for managing all your annotations, another one for your own publications. Of course you can still create new mind maps for each of your assignments, papers or books you are currently writing. There is also another advantage of having a workspace. All links in mind maps are set relative to the workspace. That means you can move your mind maps within the workspace and all links to PDF files will still work. It also allows you to use your data on several computers with different operating systems.

MS Word plugin

The probably biggest advantage other reference managers such as Zotero and Mendeley have over Docear is their good integration with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice. For SciPlore MindMapping we recommended using BibTeX4Word but BibTeX4Word is not very user friendly (neither the installation, nor the use in MS Word, nor installing new citation styles). We are working on a Docear4Word Add-On and hope to have it ready in a few weeks.

Import of all PDF annotations (bookmarks, comments, highlighted text)

For SciPlore MindMapping we recommended Foxit Reader as PDF reader. However, for Docear (Windows) we recommend PDF-XChange Viewer (PDFXV). Docear can import highlighted text, bookmarks and comments created with PDFXV and PDFXV is free. Unfortunately PDFXV is only available for Windows. Linux and Mac users still need to make some compromises when it comes to importing PDF annotations.

Website

We have a brand new website just for Docear with much more content than before (www.docear.org). Right now the website is still under construction but soon it should be completed and even now it’s already better than the old one, I think:-).

Not yet implemented

There is one feature that is not yet available in Docear but which was in SciPlore MindMapping: Backup. This feature will be available in the first private Beta or definitely in the final 1.0 release.

Download

The Alpha is not available for public download but only for registered SciPlore MindMapping users here. If you are not a registered user, please be patient. In a few weeks (around January 2012) the first public Beta will be available.

Alpha Note

Have fun trying the all-new Docear and let us know what you think about it! But keep in mind: it’s an Alpha. So don’t be too harsh with us if you discover some bugs.

A note about using old SciPlore MindMapping mind maps

We have integrated a converter that automatically converts your old mind maps to the new Docear format. However, it is not completely done yet – paths are not yet converted to the new “relative to workspace” concept. Also, it is very likely that there are more bugs. Therefore, make a backup of all your mind maps in your workspace before you open them in Docear. And, let us know all bugs you discover.

24 comments to Private Alpha of “Docear – The Academic Literature Suite” begins

  • Curtis Gautschi

    Hello Docear team.
    Just to let you know – PDFXV work quite well on linux (I’m running Ubuntu 10) through wine. Annotations (and highlighting and bookmarking) created in PDFXV are visible in Sciplore so presumably will be in Docear.
    One other thing – Mendeley’s pdf highlighting and annotation features are not visible in Sciplore. Have you accounted for this in Docear?
    Hope that is useful,
    CG

  • Ivor TsLeng

    Well, how to get the password to download it. I am do a Sciplore Mindmapping user, but I have no password yet.
    Can you help me to send me one? Thanks

  • Fernando

    Can I also get a password for try it and make a comparation with Sciplore?

    Thank You!

    Fernando

  • […] our new website http://www.docear.org for more information and read in our blog about the preview version Alpha 1. Please note that from now on, SciPlore MindMapping will not be updated any more. In addition, we […]

  • Sid

    Putting in the trial password (for Docear alpha version) I got in an email on this page (http://www.docear.org/software/download/) shows me a wordpress login screen. What do I do next?
    Thank you.
    Sid
    ps: I’m a Sciplore registered member; will I be notified of Docear beta release via email?

  • zr

    Hi,
    I tried to download alpha release by doing:
    1. registered as sciplore member
    2. got confirmation e-mail with the link to download site
    3. followed the link and entered password ( provided in confirmation e-mail )
    4. got prompted to web site with words WordPress at the top .
    5. entered username and password
    ….
    can not get through to download page ( message says:”invalid username”)
    Could you please advice what am I doing wrong?
    Thank you

  • esga

    I used Sciplore for a couple years at my old job – went to download it today on my computer at my new job, saw information about Docear. So I have created a new account for myself with Sciplore and have received an activation email, but SciPlore login is disabled. My password doesn’t work for Docear. I want to start working on a project using SciPlore/Docear – can you help? I am a librarian at a university and want to start teaching Docear to graduate students shortly, which is why I want to learn it as quickly as I can. Thanks.

  • I_Port

    Hi,
    I followed to the direction in the registration email -> went to http://www.docear.org/software/download/ -> entered my reg-password -> but the web-page returned the empty form again.

    I am interesting in use SciPlore and progress to Docear. Please could you provide me the Docear download link?

    Thank you

  • esga

    Thanks you. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t supposed to use my SciPlore password, but a separate password below for Docear.

  • Graham

    Given that PDFXV seems to have a problem making its annotations unusable, why do you recommend it over Foxit?

    For linux users, I have Foxit working nicely under WINE on Linux, and I expect that PDFXV would work fine too.

  • Wolfgang

    With me (win7-64) ‘Simply-HTML’ was not able to create a table:
    – I tried to change the number of columns from 3 to 2: No echo of ‘2’
    – I tried to enter text: No text shown
    – I left simply-html and saw the text ‘2’ in docear

    Wolfgang

    PS: Sid (Posted January 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm) was asking for a mail to announce the beta. I assume your answer was referring to the alpha? I got no mail referring to a beta either.

    PS II: The Link at the end of this page ‘these HTML tags’ seems to be wrong …

  • Ronnard

    I just have downloaded docear and started to work with it. I use mindmaps since about 15 years now, but also more general concept maps ( Cmap ) and a visual database TheBrain.
    All have their special advantages.
    Mindmaps are good for preparing outlines and therefore they are also excellent to analyse the content of books, because printed books have a binary tree structure. But they are not the best choice, if feed back loops are included; then concept maps should be used.
    TheBrain ( http://www.thebrain.com ) is the best software tool, which I have found up to now, to prepare an associated visual database with many hyperlinks to websites or to files on a desktop computer.

    The newest version of it has also an outline view, but it is not really so good. And that is caused by the very structure of a hyperlinked database, because it is multidimensioal and cannot get represented on a 2 dim binary tree structure.

    Concept mapping and TheBrain would give even more usefulness to docear.

    One other important point is memorising. One not only reads literature and prepares abstract, but one also wants to memorise important facts and methods. The best approach is using the Leitner system and the best method is to use a flashcard system for it like SuperMemo or StudyProfFlashCards.

    There are several hundred flashcards available and some of them are specialised to learn Chinese for instance.

    My wishes might be much more, than what was planned originally with docear, but I think, that this is such an important tool, that it is worth while, to develop it furhter to get also an excellent learning tool.

    Using a core ( like Maple is doing ) and add ons, it should be possible, to keep it lean, but extendible for the different users.

    I wish you much success with it.

  • Hi there,
    I totally respect your article… Impressive work on the look of your website.

    Bye for now…

  • Pam

    This is a brilliant tool of 4 programs I already use to develop my blog articles and school projects. I already graduated from Freemind to Freeplane, and found your site by accident, the combination of pdfs and MS word is fantastic with Docclear. I am showing my HS kid and college kid tonight how to use all the tools together. Thank you so much for bringing this to the freeware community. I was looking at brain mind map type warez, but they were just to much for my budget.

  • […] dazu ein ausführliches Review zu einem der jüngeren – die als Alpha Version ist bereits Ende 2011 erschienen –  möglichen Alternativen zu den etablierten Literaturverwaltungsprogrammen zu […]

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