Electronics > Open Source Hardware

Anyone using a homelab tool as a "reader" for technical manuals?

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FWIW, I use Zotero on Windows. I used to use Jabref, but when I changed jobs, I was forced into using Word for technical writing, and at the time Jabref's Word support was poor. It may be better now, but I haven't checked.

Both of them can generate bibliographies in multiple formats, and the things you need for a good bibliography turn out to be very useful for general organization as well. In my Zotero database, I can have it automatically name documents when they go into the database by author, title, and year (you can change this how you wish). When they are stored, the originals are untouched. I don't use the cloud features. There's a web clipper that is handy as well.

I store technical papers, books, manuals, datasheets, presentations, etc. I don't think there is a limit on filetype.

Edit: I just looked back at Jabref, and it looks pretty good. I think you can set it up to support arbitrary file types as well.

That being said, I may look at some of the other excellent suggestions in this thread.


Nothing can beat well structured folder hierarchy. No tools needed.

Some things ideally want to be in more than one place, and a folder struct doesn't lend itself to that (well, it does, but you have dupes which may be notionally the same but really slightly different). Maybe links if you use an appropriate filesystem, but I don't think a catalog tool should be OS- or FS-dependent.

OTOH, a folder stuct should be used :). I deal with my photos that way - they are pulled of my devices and stored appropriately and then set read-only. Then the catalog thing gets to add them to its database, but it can't move or change them. That way I can use different catalog tools, often at the same time, but the raw data stays the same and is reasonably accessible via ANOther file manager.

Disk folder structure as it allows you to also store art, schematics, release notes, firmware. It's easy to backup and record file integrity, search and add notes on. Auto generate an HTML by script from there when you want a pretty intranet style web view. This system can also be used to create a pseudo inventory system. 100% future proof.

An example of a folder for a piece of TE:

Fluke 87V Manual.pdf
Fluke 87V Manual.txt (dumped table of contents for web view)
Fluke 87V Calibration.pdf
Fluke 87V Service Manual.pdf
Fluke 87V Schematics.pdf
Fluke 87V Brochure.pdf
Fluke 87V Specs.jpg (quick specs and function cheat card)
Fluke 87V Front.jpg
Fluke 87V Back.jpg
Fluke 87V Serial 56120801 Calibration Certificate.jpg
Fluke 87V Serial 56120063 Calibration Certificate.jpg
Fluke Logo.jpg (pretty art for your web view).
Fluke 87V Notes.txt (repair or acquisition notes etc)

That is just an example, if you find that useful please click a thanks.

I would like keyword indexing with a variable number of keywords per document.  I could find the 741 datasheet with a search on 'op amps', 'analog computing', '741' or some other categories.  The keywords are not predefined and the number of keywords per document can grow without bound (more or less).

I am thinking database...


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