ReadCube Papers 2020 and Hook

Hi there, I am a newbie here and just started to use Hook. So far, I found this is really an impressive app - productivity booster!

I am currently using Papers3 from ReadCube - recently, ReadCube released the 2020 edition of the Papers ( - which is mostly online/subscription-based and there is a native MacOS app. I am just wondering if there is any plan to support the linkage between Hook and this app?

Hook works with my current Papers (Legacy) but not supported in the latest 2020 version.


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thanks, @zhaokoh, and welcome to the Hook Productivity Forum. I hadn’t seen Papers 2020 (I use v. 3 myself). We’ll look at it. It hinges on whether they have an AppleScript dictionary with the right (rather minimal) support. If not, we have this Contacting developers of other apps – Hook, and we would too.

Thanks @LucB.

This is probably not related to this post but thought I just quickly mention here - I updated to the latest version of hook and I am not sure whether I did something incorrectly, now hook did not work in Chrome browser, hook always say it did not find any linkable item. I seem to recall it works previously with websites?

The first time you use Hook with Chrome you should have been prompted with this request for permission

If you said no or didn’t see or ignored the request, then there would be no checkmark in this panel in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Automation. You can click “Google Chrome” to get things right again.

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Thank you very much, @quorm, I bet you are right.

We have tested it with Chrome and it works fine for us.

Thanks @quorm and @LucB. It works now! :pray:

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Papers 2020 doesn’t seem to have AppleScript support. I have contacted ReadCube with a request for that. Hook’s integration with Papers 3 is file based (using hook://file URLs), so it is not dependent on Papers itself. It would be in principle possible for PDF files managed by Papers 3 to be migrated to a competing citation manager if they import the PDFs by moving them rather that duplicating them. I’ll also look at and get in touch with the BookEnds dev: Reference management and bibliography generation software for Macintosh.

Another alternative is to manage one’s PDF in information managers (e.g., DEVONthink or EagleFiler) or directly on Finder. The reference management software could then simply be used for dealing with citations. In the reference management app one can include hook links to the files themselves, and vice versa if the reference management app provides unique URLs.

Even Hook aside, I always advise people to avoid syncing their precious PDFs to a web service – why put a research career in the cloud? cf. my blog post a few years ago: More on Accessing PDFs Managed by Papers 3 for Mac – CogZest where I advised against using Papers with Dropbox because it renamed PDF files with cryptic ID numbers, making it essentially incompatible with Spotlight and launchers ( LaunchBar, Alfred).

Thanks @LucB. This is spot on with Papers 3 and 2020. Unfortunately, the ability to sync PDFs across different devices including tablets is one of my requirement and hence I go down the path of enabling syncing papers3 with dropbox - and lead to the cryptic filename.

The Papers 2020 seems to put everything online, and the Mac native app also feel like a wrapper around the web and not a full-blown desktop app. Perhaps it makes it easier for the sync but nevertheless lack some features such as AppleScript, etc.

Hmm, I will need to think about my PDF reading workflow now. This is the reason I am very interested in Hook, and other knowledge management tools because I haven’t come across a tool that will let me manage my PDFs, annotate (externally) and collect relevant information. I am half way there with PDF reference management (Papers 3), Skim to extract annotations to Markdown (so that the notes can be searchable via Finder), and now Hook helps me to bind everything together! Then Scrivener for writing :). Just need more refinement so that the tools can help me to retain more information in my head and synthesis them better.

Thanks again @LucB.

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Thanks for the extra info, @zhaokoh.

One thing to watch out for is whether Papers 2020 strips away your skim annotations. By default they are stored in extended attributes. Does Papers also store xattr? If not, it will lose all your precious annotations.

I haven’t tried Papers 2020 online , but if it exposes each paper as a unique URL, then it could be used with Hook. If Readcube arbitrarily changes paper addresses (rather than respecting the URL) that could be a problem. ln principle, one can do batch changes to the Hook database to map one URL scheme to another, but we haven’t published guidelines for that yet.

First release of Hook automation is coming soon. We are testing it in house. That will allow users to control Hook via their own scripts (analogous to Hook being able to access other apps). The MVP (minimum viable product)) of Hook automation will be read only (exposing bookmarks and links). Later, it will be possible to add and edit Hook links.

Thanks @LucB for the suggestions. Yes - Papers does store the annotations separately - so I decided to use PDF Expert (as the viewer in Papers) so that all the annotations are saved with the PDFs together. This way, the annotations are agnostic to different PDF viewers. It took me a few times to get this part sorted with different reference managers (e.g. Mendeley) and other PDF viewers.

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