Thursday 6 June 2013

I heart reference management

I was having a glance through the ALIA PD Postings April email, and one of the reports piqued my interest, as it was about positioning the library in the digital workflow of research in the age of social media.

The report did a comparison of some of the reference management programmes that are available. I'm lucky enough to have an institutional license to EndNote, which means that I use EndNote to keep track and to organise all of my references. This is not only handy for when I'm writing a paper or report, but also for my keeping track of the literature I want to read for my own professional development. And being the true organise-y librarian that I am, I absolutely LOVE it.

For those of you who may not be familiar with reference management software, these are computer programmes that allow you to keep track of the bibliographic details of journal articles, books, reports or other literature- kind of like your own personal database!

And the beauty of it, is that it lets me not only keep all of my references in the one place, but also to find and attach the full text pdf to each citation, organise all off my papers into groups AND insert references into a Word document according to a particular referencing style. SUCH a handy time saver! But it does mean that the more and more I use it, the more references I add to my EndNote library, therefore the more paranoid I am about backing it up, in case I lose all of those glorious articles!

I must admit that I have a bit of an EndNote bias, seeing as I can access it from work. I know many other institutions use other reference management tools, such as RefWorks, and that there are several free tools that enable the socialisation of reference management, eg Zotero and Mendeley. EndNote is moving into this area, via EndNote Web, which allows you to share references via the cloud. I'm keen to spend some more time becoming more familiar with EndNote Web, but I do know that there is less leeway to customise referencing styles and the like, which is a feature that is enabled in the desktop version.

I've also been meaning to set aside time to have a play around with Zotero and Mendeley, and I'm keen to hear from anyone who has used these before (or any other tool for that matter!)

What's your favourite reference management software and why? 

~ Crystal ~

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