I actually wrote a plugin to accomplish this very thing ...
WP Publication Archive is a plugin for WordPress that specifically adds the ability to create objects like this. It introduces a custom post type for documents/publications that feature a downloadable file (i.e. PDF) with a title, description, tags, and authors taxonomy.
You can create multiple "collections" of publications by applying categories, then using a category filter within the shortcode on a page. For example:
[wp-publication-archive categories=cat-1 /]
Would present a list of all publications in the "cat-1" category.
Here's an example of what an unstyled publication list (with only one download) would look like: