I am working in academia in a very wide field of research mixing a lot of different domains. This broadness is also a problem, since there is no proper references for the basis of the theory, and we have to deal with a lot of material scattered in very different places, often in the form of lecture notes, conference proceeding or unpublished documents.

Therefore, I would like to propose a collaborative online list of these references, in a light way so that anyone could add or improve the list. The best current list of references is here, which is neither up to date nor really easy to use (no tags, list by authors, etc). I would like something slightly more powerful, I though about some framework like Django but don't really know if it is a suitable solution.

I would like to be able for anyone to

  • sort in different ways
  • add tags
  • add or edit references entries
  • rate difficulty (this is a bonus)
  • comment (this is a bonus)

Moreover, it should be better if the list were accessible without any amount on a simple webpage.

Any suggestion in order to do such a list is welcome!


2 Answers 2


Have you thought about using Mendeley? It provides both an online interface and a client. You can add notes and tags to resources, which can also be organized in folders. You can also create "groups" to share (part of) your library with others. There is a con: it is owned by Elsevier, which I'd rather not support. There are also alternatives but I haven't tried any of them.

  • 1
    Thanks for the proposition. I also am not fond of Elsevier, and use instead Zotero for a similar system I suppose. However, I really would like something open on the web, available for everyone without needing to subscribe to a service or download a daemon. This is similar to a rough HTML list, but that can be updated by anyone and also a bit more convenient (with different options for sorting references, etc.) Oct 10, 2019 at 7:22
  • I think Zotero would let somebody participate on this purely on the web, without the client. They would have to be signed up for a free Zotero account, though. I think the same applies with Mendeley. If you don't want people to have to join anything.... well, you could look at open collaborative editing systems - the simplest is probably Etherpad - but then anybody can edit, so you're open to vandalism.
    – Flyto
    Oct 10, 2019 at 16:59
  • @Flyto I didn't know Zotero has a web-based option made for group sharing, that seems perfectly relevant and exactly what I want! Thank you very much for this tip Oct 11, 2019 at 0:32
  • I haven't tried it myself, so no promises - but definitely worth checking out.
    – Flyto
    Oct 11, 2019 at 4:49
  • @DesideriusSeverus as far as I know, you can install Zotero on your own webserver and use that if you want to keep everything in house
    – lr1985
    Oct 11, 2019 at 9:14

If you want a broad and open list, then I suggest Google sheets and integrate it with Google Sites and Google Forms. that seems to fill your requirements.

  • Thanks for the answer, however Google is blocked in China... Oct 11, 2019 at 0:31
  • Microsoft Office actually has colaborative options [support.office.com/en-us/article/… mmhh.. I don't know if Github is allowed in China. But it could be an option if it is.
    – deags
    Oct 11, 2019 at 15:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .