Save PDF annotations to a notes file

If you are a researcher then you prob­a­bly anno­tate PDFs of papers and other stuff. If, like me, you work in the Apple/OSX envi­ron­ment you may be using Skim to read and anno­tate. Skim allows you to save the anno­ta­tions in their own ‘side­car’ file for­mat and to copy/paste the text of the annotations.

But you may want to save the anno­ta­tions as a more use­ful record of your research e.g. in Devon­Think or Eagle­Filer or — where I now pre­fer to keep my text records — in nvAlt. In any of these pro­grams you can eas­ily search in serendip­i­tous ways through your anno­ta­tions, mak­ing and re-discovering con­nec­tions as well as find­ing that elu­sive quote.

It helps a lot, too, if the anno­ta­tions include a link back to the page of the PDF file where you first made them (assum­ing that page/file is still where it was when you made the annotation).

This really sim­ple script — derived shame­lessly on the work of oth­ers — is a way to do that. Min­i­mal instruc­tions for the set-up are included. Just open the link below, select and copy the text to the Apple­Script edi­tor (in ~/Applications/Utilities).

You’ll find there are three items: a main script; plus a “helper” script that you will need to save sep­a­rately as a small Apple­Script appli­ca­tion; plus an insert for the “info.plist” file that Apple­Script makes, auto­mat­i­cally, for the application.

Skim­NotesToMd


Draft history of ICC: final chapters

Last year, I com­pleted the man­u­script of a cen­ten­nial his­tory of the Inter­na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce (ICC). It’s a long work: 400 pages, more or less. It will be only the sec­ond his­tory of this remark­able insti­tu­tion. The first was pub­lished in 1938. ICC com­mis­sioned the his­tory in 2013, but has recently decided to wait until […]


The Wallenbergs at the ICC

Peter Wal­len­berg, the scion of the great Swedish fam­ily of bankers and indus­tri­al­ists, died on 19 Jan­u­ary aged 88. Among his many achieve­ments was to lead the Inter­na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce (ICC) dur­ing the most dif­fi­cult period for busi­ness in the late 20th Cen­tury. Here is a sum­mary of the story. There’s a lit­tle more in […]


Can multilateralism be revived?

Shawn Don­nan at the FT says that it needs a health­ier life-style. Mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism is weaker than it has ever been. But, in trade, it has never been as robust as it seemed on the sur­face. For now, I doubt there is a rea­son­able prospect it can be revived in its orig­i­nal form. Instead, we should […]


Is a plurilateral the ‘way out’ for WTO on agriculture?

Q: under what cir­cum­stances would a critical-mass (CM) pluri­lat­eral agree­ment on agri­cul­ture be a way “out of the mess” in the WTO agri­cul­ture nego­ti­a­tions? A: any CM pluri­lat­eral works as a “way out” of the WTO stale­mate where it offers a degree of ben­e­fits to the mem­bers of the pluri­lat­eral agree­ment such that they were […]


Evaluation of a “Critical Mass” agreement on agriculture

The stale­mate in Geneva on the Decem­ber 2013 Bali Agree­ment con­cern­ing both Trade Facil­i­a­tion and agri­cul­ture sub­si­dies has revived some inter­est in the poten­tial for a pluri­lat­eral agree­ment on Agri­cul­ture among WTO mem­bers. I attach to this brief post a pre-print of the sum­mary that Andy Stoler and I wrote for the jour­nal Global Governance […]


Editing Scrivener ‘Sync’ files

Do you use Scrivener? If so, and you’d like to edit your Scrivener files on another plat­form such as your iPad, I may have some­thing that will help. I’ve made some ‘bun­dles’ and themes for the Text­Mate edi­tor and the Tex­tas­tic edi­tor on the iPad that dis­play inline anno­ta­tions, com­ments and block-quotes in the text. […]