Currently, the best feature EndNote has–in my opinion–is the integration with Word. This makes writing and creating a bibliography simple.
However, there are four deficits that are limiting the number of users and utility of the software. I recommend four solutions for each of the deficits.
Advanced Export Features. Almost daily I want to share a single cite or a group-set with a collaborator. However, the only option is to go through the headache of syncing the online library and setting accessibility privileges. The freedom of being able to select and export any number of citations into a zip-folder, sending that folder via e-mail, and allowing for another user to import those citations into their own library (Like an RIS file, but with the attached PDFs) is sorely needed. As is, I either have to do my entire library or none of it. Having more than dichotomous export options is highly recommended.
Full Folder Organization. The existing 2-level deep organization (groups and groupsets) is incredibly limiting. I have never used a computer that was so old that you couldn’t create as many folders within folders as you would like. The groups and group sets structure is restricting and makes the library cluttered. Since computers have been doing this since at least the 90’s, it seems archaic in 2019 to be devoid of this feature.
An Option for a High-Quality, Integrated OCR. A number of the PDFs I use cannot be annotated as they are scanned images. It is always an option to get a separate OCR software, but the utility of a ‘one-stop shop’ citation management software is highly appealing. I understand that perhaps not all users would be interested in this feature, but as an academic that frequently encounters low-quality PDFs–this would be a tool I would use weekly and would be willing to pay for a specialized package, such as an “EndNote Plus” that includes this feature.
An Option for a High-Quality Annotation Interface. Having my entire library of citations, complete with PDFs and all my notes, is a premium for my efforts to organize my efforts to organize and understand a body of literature. There is little utility in reading an article if there is not a way to codify a personal commentary, as previous efforts can be merely forgotten. Allowing for a repository of notes permits the user to pick up where they left off. True, I can take notes in a separate software and then upload my PDF. However, any changes would require re-attaching a PDF. Cumulatively that can lead to a lot of lost time just for inefficiencies in the system. I know that EndNote on my Mac has several colors–while on my PC I only have yellow highlight and blue underline. I also have noticed that when I try and put a comment in the document, it often is placed in an area other than–although close to–where I click. I’m not suggesting specializing in another area–but affording comparable utility to basic PDF readers. Again, perhaps not all users would be interested. But I would pay extra to have all of my citation management needs in a single program.
Note: It would be great to have an export option to clear all annotations. Sometimes I want to share a cite and PDF with someone, but they want to make their own notes from scratch.