Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Citation Software

Many scholars use special citation software that does at least some of the work of keeping and maintaining citations semi-automatically. Two of the best known are RefWorks and Reference Manager, which cost quite a bit of money.

There are other possibilities coming out now. While there is a wide choice of free software that can manage references, two of the most popular are Zotero and Connotea. One of the nice things about these tools is that if you don't care for one of them, you can export your citations, and then import them into another that you prefer.

Zotero can only be used with Firefox and is a plug-in. In the first version, you could only save citations to the computer you were on, then export/import them on a flashdrive for use on other computers. In its Beta version, your citations can be saved onto a shared server so that you can use them anywhere, including share them.
Go to the Zotero site.

Connotea is one of the "cloud computing" options that is becoming so popular today. All you have to do is create an account and set a bookmark on your browser, so it works with all browsers. It doesn't seem to have as much power as Zotero, but is simpler to use.
Go to the Connotea site.

There are many more free options available, too. For a list of them, with a few comparisons, see the Wikipedia page Comparison of reference management software. Before doing a lot of work with them, it is best to check the very handy tables on Export/Import formats, to make sure that you can export any work into another one. Look especially for the RIS format, which is the closest to a standard format for this type of information that exists.

Finally, you may want to check a couple of our Two-Minute Tutorials, one on Making Citations, the other on Automatic Citations, both with links into additional information in the AUR Library Information Wiki.

No comments: