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Stats of My Research Library

The new version of Script Debugger made me play with AppleScript. Of course, I had to add some python.

I played with Script Debugger and my Research Library, Papers. While Papers doesn't perform very well (anymore? I do have a fairly large library on an external USB3 hard drive), and is not the most stable software I use, its AppleScirpt Dictionary is wonderful. I am using continuously to get recent references that I collect in OmniFocus into Papers.

Now, here is what I did:

  • I tried in Script Debugger to get the publication year of each of the publications that I have in my database. That worked nicely. Debugging applescripts is a so much improved experience compared to the default AppleScript script editor. This is what the AppleScript does:
    • loop over every entry in my papers database
    • figure out what the publication year is
    • append the year to a list
    • at the end, missing values are ignored, via set myList to strings of pub_yrs
    • the variable myList is returned to python in the call of the AppleScript.
  • I figured out, how to call an AppleScript from within python, using py-applescript (installed via pip install py-applescript and pip install PyObjC) and return a value (myList). The list is converted to a numpy array, and a normed histogram is plotted

The figure below shows a normed histogram of the publication dates in my Papers database:

Relative frequencies of publication years in my Papers library
'Relative frequencies of publication years in my Papers library'

As you can see, not surprisingly, my reading (and knowledge) is biased towards recent research. However, I do have a few classics. My oldest reference is from 1870, and, of course, related to dependence ;-)

GROVE, W R. 1870. “Use of the Word ‘Correlation’.” Nature 1 (13): 335–35. doi:10.1038/001335b0.

Here is the full script:

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