Article Review Software for Searchable PDF Files (A Research PDF Search Tool for Literature Review)

Published: 06th February 2012
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This article discusses about article review and how ease we can do it using PrepLit software technology. With this current computer era, most papers are kept in the searchable PDF file format. We can use PDF search tool or PDF search engine to perform the time-comsuming task for us, but the normal PDF search cannot streamline the entire process. That is why the special software solution is needed for the task.

The literature review is about going through the literature in book chapters, articles, patents or peer-reviewed papers. It allows connecting the past and the future, to utilize the knowledge acquired by previous generations of researchers to define the problems and challenges that new generations of researchers will face. The review process is really the state of the art. Good literature review requires complete knowledge of the interested field. It is time-consuming (may be months or years) or even impossible in many cases. The result will tell us what others in the field have already known, what is the knowledge gaps (not known yet), and what should we do (which will become thesis or research topic). It is even harder to prepare the proposal for a research grant. PrepLit can facilitate preparation for literature review in a more convenient and efficient manner.

A well-documented review of the state of the art is fundamental for writing a successful research grant. The outcome of the proposal will depend on how extensive, supportive, and well organized is the grant. The article review must convince the funding agency that the project should be supported. The literature review requires both good knowledge search and knowledge synthesis processes. Both are hard to do without the PrepLit tool.

Often articles are saved as searchable PDF files and organized in folders, but it is not a simple task keeping track of the content of each saved article. Typical literature review process begins with searching for the papers that contain the interested keyword(s) (a time consuming and error-prone process). Then we must pick a paper to read. One problem that causes inefficiency is we do not know which paper is the most related to our interested area that we should read first. We usually note the content of the paper while reading (tend to note only a few words). We often go from one PDF to another looking for specific information, and for large project ten or more PDF files are open all at once, creating confusion and slowing down the review process. Another critical step of the review process is organizing the information, and defining priorities. When we complete the entire reading (another time consuming and error-prone process), we review and manage our entire note. We may want to cross out some records, add additional comments, and move some records to different position. It is difficult to modify, reproduce, and manage in the future.

Regular PDF search programs (desktop PDF search tools or desktop PDF search engines) do not have the essential features to streamline the process. (including file search programs such as Google Desktop which has been discontinued since September 14, 2011) PrepLit incorporates features designed to enable the completion and easy survey of PDFs with just a few clicks. First, enter the keyword(s) for PDF search (we can specify a lot of special search options such as the length of the result record content, each keyword must be within the specified distance from each other, etc.) and click search. We will get the result much faster than the manual method in the acceptable time. Then we can rank the most related record to the top. We can review the result: delete the unwanted, add comments, reposition or group the records with ease. The final result can be saved and merged seamlessly with a new search result. The feature that exports the result to be edit in Microsoft Word gives us the flexibility and compatibility to the computer world. Furthermore, PrepLit allows automatically copying PDF files listed in the final result to the specified folder.

How PrepLit can rescue?

1. searching for the papers that contain the interested keyword(s)

Problem: time consuming and error-prone process

What PrepLit helps: get the result accurately with much faster speed than the manual method which make time-consuming survey possible (also has a lot of research search options)

2. picking a paper to read

Problem: not knowing which paper is the most related to our interested area that we should read first

What PrepLit helps: can rank the result to position the most likely related record top

3. noting the content of the paper

Problem: tend to note only a few words because of our laziness

What PrepLit helps: can specify the length of the result record content

4. crossing out some records, adding additional comments, moving some to different position or grouping

Problem: become a dirty note and must be rewritten again to get organized

What PrepLit helps: can delete the unwanted, add comments, reposition or group the records in the software with ease

5. modifying, reproducing, and managing in the future

Problem: no easy way to do this task

What PrepLit helps: make the result manageable in the future

Note: PrepLit falls in Seachable PDF Software, PDF Search Tool, PDF Search Engine or Article Review Program category.

For more information about the software, please visit or

PrepLit is a trademark of PrepLit Group. Microsoft is either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademark(s) is/are the property of their respective owners(s).

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