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Managing Citations Using Free or Fee-Based Software: What's the difference? Cynthia Bail uOttawa Library Friday, January 30, 2009. 2:10 p.m. SuperConference.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Citations Using Free or Fee-Based Software: What's the difference? Cynthia Bail uOttawa Library Friday, January 30, 2009. 2:10 p.m. SuperConference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Citations Using Free or Fee-Based Software: What's the difference? Cynthia Bail uOttawa Library Friday, January 30, :10 p.m. SuperConference 2009, Toronto

2 Presentation Overview Managing citations …the past Online citation management tools …the present Endnote Web, RefWorks, Zotero…some strengths Why prefer one product?…fee versus free How the tools are really used …seeing is believing Investing in… …the future

3 this ? or worse ? The past….

4 How many choices are available to our users now? There are well known free or fee-based products and mac-only options Lesser known products can often be found in wiki entries such as these: wikipedia entry: pbwiki: Is a product right for you? Only you can try it out and see how you like it!

5 We may have users who prefer different tools As an OCUL member, uOttawa provides RefWorks to staff and students –RefWorks usage statistics show its popularity and usage Other citation management software we know is being used: –EndNote is available to our users free through our ISI subscriptions (statistics show new users signing up in the last 12 mo.) –Zotero is used by some of our users but there are no statistics (an upcoming social website will allow users to opt-in to add institutional affiliation info.) –RefManager is known to be used by some researchers Note: Statistics were demonstrated at SuperConference only – links not included in website copy of presentation.

6 Purpose of a citation Correctly cite an author quoted in your paper Produce a bibliography in various formats Allow you or readers of your article to retrace the original article

7 Citation Management software – main goals Incorporate any citations you find… (print, database, other software) Build your database… (field/record types, folders, duplicates) Re-use your data… (tags, searching, sharing) Create a bibliography… (output styles)

8 Citation Management software – extra bells & whistles Work within an MS Word document to add in-text citations Attach pdfs and images to database records Work with an offline version of the database Provide links back to full text of citations

9 Note: table data compiled in September 2008 EndnoteWeb, RefWorks, Zotero -- some strengths

10 Online citation management tools …a look at importing Using each of the following tools to demonstrate: Importing search results from 6 databases Creating a bibliography –EndNoteWeb –Reference Manager (RefMan) –RefWorks –Zotero Note: Demonstrations at SuperConference only – media links not included in website copy of presentation.

11 Things to explore in a “test drive” Most products carry out the basic tasks of 1.importing records from databases 2.organizing the records to allow effective retrieval 3.producing bibliographies. The 1 st task requires filters that translate the citation details into the correct fields within records. –How easy is it to select a different import filter The 3rd task requires a list of output formats that adhere to standard bibliographic styles. –How easy is it to modify an output format? A common complaint about citation management software is that errors creep into a bibliography. –These can originate from the source database or be due to the filter or output style. –The level of user self-sufficiency in these situations can determine which tool is best for them. –How easy is it to edit an author field? Note: This assumes that the author of a paper will recognize that the style is incorrect and make the necessary changes to the bibliography. Research and anecdotal evidence indicates that often this does not happen. In “Citations and Aberrations” (Searcher, 2007), Nicholas Tomaiuolo notes the volume of discrepancies in citations within published articles as well as the inconsistency of software generated citations. This page contains excerpts from my Fall 2008 Access article “A Cite for Sore Eyes”.

12 How the tools are really used …seeing is believing Experiment to compare bibliography generating software Participants “observed” and asked to search specific databases, save records and create a bibliography Facilitator analyzed the time to complete tasks, steps taken, similarities, differences Peek at the observed results? –RefWorks user –Zotero user Note: Demonstrations at SuperConference only – media links not included in website copy of presentation.

13 Return on investment …fee versus free Why does a user choose one product over another? Is functionality the issue? Is ease of use the issue? Is word of mouth the issue? Is personality & learning style the issue?

14 What does my gut tell me? Test drive as many products as you want Choose the interface that you prefer –…as long as you can perform the tasks you need and that we find in marketing claims from each of the major web-based products: EndNote Web"Collect, Organize, Format” RefWorks“Create your own personal database, import references from your institution’s databases, automatically format your papers and bibliographies in seconds.” Zotero"Getting stuff into your Zotero Library"

15 My gut is telling me there’s still a missing link You’ve made your software choice but now what happens if you can’t import? Since 2000 (that’s 9 years!), my experience tells me that it always comes down to the filter and how a user reacts when things go wrong. How long will they spend looking in databases for strategies to export records. Should users need a GPS to find a database’s “save records” option? What if every database vendor decided to come up with a Zotero style motto? "Getting stuff into your Zotero Library“ could become Getting citations from our database to yours.

16 One final note… Since importing records from databases is still not an exact science: Citation management software companies should simplify import steps [users importing database records should not need the company name] Database providers should offer at least 1 non-proprietary export format that can be imported into any citation management software? BibTeX might be a ‘likely’ common format since it is already used in: –EndNoteWeb (export only) –RefWorks (export & import) –Zotero (export & import)

17 Conclusion Effective use of citation management software depends on: –Ease of import & export (seamless or step-by-step) –User comfort level and self-sufficiency –User understanding of the 3 purposes of a citation –User willingness to take responsibility for record accuracy –Support & training available (company, user group, librarian, etc)

18 Questions? Contact me: Cynthia.Bail (at) uottawa.ca


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