In academic writing having good, relevant references is very important. Managing anything more than a few references manually is very labor intensive and not the best use of writers time. In academia, especially in mathematics and sciences, papers are often done using LaTeX. This because of its ability to handle complicated equations and large collection of references.
The references in those documents are typically stored in BibTeX formatted text files. Again, you could manage the references manually, but why would you when there are good free tools, such as BibDesk available.
I discovered BibDesk when I was writing my thesis last year. As the name hint’s, BibDesk managesBibTex-references but it can also manage and store the articles that you are referencing to.
BibDesk handles creating consistent reference-names automatically, provides a clean UI to view the references and makes it easy to insert cite-commands to the LaTeX-documents. It can also create groups and smart groups that can be used to organize-references. The smart groups are familiar for any iTunes user. The smart group is a dynamic collection of references that match certain user determined criteria. This feature was especially important for me, since I needed to arrange papers by year, category, research type and so on.
BibDesk is a free and open source project, hosted at SourceForge. The site is sourcefourgesky unappealing, but the application itself is full-featured and a valuable tool for any OS X user who also use LaTeX and BibTeX.
You can find BibDesk at bibdesk.sourceforge.net.