Reference management

I am currently writing up my Graduate Trainee project (almost there now!), so if ever there was a good time to experiment with referencing software, this is it!

When I wrote my undergrad dissertation I didn’t use any type of referencing software, I just wrote my own reference list. I find this easy as when I am taking notes from a source I include a full reference anyway, so can just copy and paste.

We use Endnote at the University, and although I haven’t used it in my own essays I have helped students with it and feel like I have got to know it pretty well.

I was planning to use Endnote for my project but this was a good excuse to try something new, so I had a go with Mendeley. I found it easy to use and very intuitive. It also contained lots of different possible referencing styles, which is useful here as the University has a different style for each school (and sometimes even different styles within schools!). I like the drag and drop function and the simple no-nonsense layout.

However, my project included lots of sources about social media in libraries, many of which were blog posts and websites. Obviously Mendeley was not able to find details for most of these, so I kind of gave up and went back to creating my reference list manually.

I feel like I really should be persevering with this, but I just find it simpler to do it myself! Maybe I’ll give it another go when I’m a student again. I can certainly see how it could save time – and time is something I’ll need when I am working full time as well as studying!

I also had a little look at CiteULike. I thought the noseying-at-other-people’s-references aspect was interesting, and it could be a good way to remember what you’ve already used. I can’t see any immediate personal uses for it though.

Another interesting tool I found while looking at this was Citethisforme.com. I love the idea of this -it could be a great interactive way for students to learn how to cite more unusual items, such as interviews and dissertations. You can also download your references into word when you’ve finished. However, I’m not sure about it’s reliability as my results were a bit hit and miss. I tried an interview which didn’t seem to work very well – it only has options for TV, Radio or in person (mine was online) and I’m almost certain that the resulting reference wasn’t accurate. I also tried a blog though which seemed to work absolutely fine. The site currently only generates Harvard style references, although the website advertises some changes from Friday (24th August) – so watch this space…maybe?!

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