Speed up citations with bibliography managers 1

Surprisingly few students use citation managers though it can make life so much easier

I am always put off at the thought of creating bibliographies with their innumerable dots and commas and italics, and a grammar complicated more than that of German language. I really have no idea why people came up with such complicated formats such as Chicago, APA or MLA. For my first paper that was headed towards publication I followed the style guide. After one year, I realise that I made many mistakes and the process in any case had taken a long time and was frustrating. After that, I discovered Endnote.

Quick & Easy citations

Citation managers like Refworks and Endnote enable us to create bibliographies and in-text citations fully painlessly. Once we have the references in place it takes very little time and effort to create neat and professional bibliographies. In both these utilities (and I believe there are a few other softwares in this market) all we have to do is to click on the reference to add it in text in the research paper we are writing. Refworks or EndNote will do the rest. One can choose from hundreds of citation formats by a click of a button and instruct the software to create bibliographies in the chosen format. If one wishes to, we can also create it in our own unique styles using custom format functions. The key to creating good citations though, is getting all our references organised and complete.

Finding and managing references

This is a short blurb, for a more detailed article, click here.

There are many databases including the free Google Scholar and many paid databases such as JSTOR, OCLC, etc. where one can search academic papers and import references painlessly into Endnote or Refworks. We can also search library catalogs of many universities or the Library of congress from within these utilities. Once you find the book that you’re looking for, just click and import it. Once references are in place, and complete – just click your way to creating citations in your research paper. I have been creating posts on related topics including one comparing Google Scholar with other academic search engines, using Google scholar with Refworks, and other posts. You can find these under the tag information management for graduate students. These posts contain tips and tricks for collecting and managing references, among other things. For relevant information see tags next to “read more” below.

About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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