I’ve been using Scrivener for quite a while, and some months ago I decided to use it also to write my doctoral dissertation (I’m from the field of computational linguistics). Much has been written about how to use Scrivener for the creation of scientific articles — I’m a LATEX guy, and I already managed to set up a production chain for the compilation of a customized LATEX document with additional packages and modifications of how to create the bibliography.
But It took me a long time to find a good way to cope with those many, many publications by others: I needed to read and summarize them, and also to extract important tables, figures, and quotes.
I had a look at several tools that help to manage these kinds of data, but I didn’t find one that suited my needs (there were some of them that were quite okay, but they worked in a Windows environment only, but that was not an option for me).
But finally I read a section in Umberto Eco’s How to make a thesis on how to create an efficient index card apparatus. Index cards, that sounded somehow familiar. Then I had a sudden inspiration: Why not use Scrivener itself for the management of summaries and quotes? There were so many features that looked like they could be helpful — the index card view, the flexible hierarchical structure of documents and folders, keywords, labels, and so on and so on. So I decided to give it a try and do some of the literature work with Scrivener.
And this is how i did it: