Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Thing 14 : citation services

Thing 14 introduces us to three citation services. I have only had a quick look at these - something to come back to later. My own institution has invested heavily in Endnote, which is therefore free to students and researchers, so it is unlikely that I would make much use of other similar services in my job. Endnote will store up to 10,000 references including importing from online data sources, and seems to answer the needs of my institution. However I am all in favour of open source alternatives, so it's useful to know about other options, and once again I might find a personal use for some of these reference management systems.

Browsers can be a problem: until a recent upgrade I was able to access Mozilla Firefox without difficulty at work. Although Zotero started out requiring Firefox, I got into it without, which is an advantage. It looks promising: as a cataloguer I like the option to tag. Mendeley seems to offer similar functions, and I'm glad I'm not in the position of needing to choose between them: there seem to be strong views regarding which is better, but as they are both developing it would be hard to be dogmatic without a lot more experimentation with both. CiteULike is a little different. I think this would be particularly useful for academics as it seems to focus on sharing articles. What a dreadful name, though! I'm a bit surprised that spudulike haven't been after them for brand name infringement. Perhaps it's meant to convey the idea that research is now made so easy by these new services that it is as quick as takeaway food.

I of course belong to the generation who used index cards for everything, and to be honest I still feel more at home with old school habits. My library school bibliography was done that way, and so was every other project I've ever done. I'm nostalgic sometimes for those days but look how much more you can do with the new services, in terms of importing information and organising it, and how much easier it is to correct errors. No more sad tales of PhDs falling by the wayside because of whole sets of references lost in floods and fires!

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