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Things I Wish I'd Known About When I Started My PhD #2,327

I'm just coming into the last year of my doctorate & I thought I'd save a bit of time by investigating some software which'd manage all my references & put together my bibliography for me.  Birkbeck has a deal with EndNote where you can get a Lite version for free, but I found it rather unwieldy & couldn't see myself using it routinely.  Then someone suggested Zotero instead.  I checked it out & I was hooked straight away.  Here's why I'm addicted...

What all these tools do, in essence, is to act as a big database of all the books you've read, and to integrate with your word processor so that every time you want to drop in a reference you just click a button, select the book from the list & key in the page number.  They should allow you to switch referencing styles with a couple of clicks (say your chapter's in MHRA but you're submitting it to a journal who want Chicago style), and they should be able to create your bibliography for you based on all the works you've referenced in your document.

The first thing to say about Zotero is that it runs in your web browser, and your web browser needs to be Firefox.  This is a bit odd, and possibly a bit offputting if you're strongly attached to, say, Internet Explorer.  Still, the interface is very simple to use, & the way it integrates with the browser is one of the best things about it

You can organise your books/articles/chapters into folders to make it easier to find them, but you can also give them keywords so you can search on all the books you've tagged as <oulipo> or <teaching> or <genre>. You can even use Zotero to store notes on each book--although I can't quite bring myself to get into this--I prefer having my notes as text files which I can back up and double back up.


But my favourite feature is the way that you import things into Zotero.  Rather than keying in author/title/publisher etc. etc., whenever your browser is open on a page containing a book and its reference details (say your browsing the BL catalogue, or Google Books, or an online journal), an icon of a book appears in the browser address bar:

and Zotero will import all the details into your database.  If you've downloaded PDFs--say from JSTOR--you can also point Zotero at them, and it'll pull all the relevant referencing data into your library automatically.


Interfacing with Word or OpenOffice is as simple as it should be--dropping in references or creating a bibliography only takes a couple of clicks, as does switching between stylesheets.


Anyway, it should be obvious now that I've become a bit evangelical about the whole thing, so I'll leave off proselytising.  But I would be interested to hear if anyone's got a different experience of EndNote.  There's a similar application for the Mac too that I've heard good things about.  Anyone?

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Dennis

I've had a few false starts with Zotero. I really wanted to make it work for me, but for some reason I just never used it. However, I do use an alternative to Zotero, called Mendeley. When I first came across this, it was billed as 'iTunes for academics' or something similar. The idea was that one could share one's list of references with other academics in the same field, and thereby uncover overlooked articles and books. However, I don't use it for this; neither do I use it to automate my referencing (which the inner geek in me likes to do manually). Rather, I find it the easiest way to make notes on articles I've saved in pdf format. I know that Zotero can do this too, but for me the Mendeley interface works better. When I save a pdf file, it is automatically added to my Mendeley library. I can then read the article in Mendeley and make notes without constantly switching between Preview (or Adobe) and Word. As in Zotero, I can also add tags to the articles.
I certainly wouldn't bang the table and insist that Mendeley is the best thing since sliced bread; neither would I argue that it's 'better' than Zotero. In fact, in terms of development, Mendeley appears to be behind: it is still in version 0. However, I use it fairly regularly, which I never did with Zotero. So, for those like me, who have tried and failed with Zotero, Mendeley might be worth giving a go.

David
I'm still working in pencil - I think you just convinced me to get on it with this though.
EndNote has rather bad habit of crashing your system with longer (say chapter-length) files.

Zotero can't straightforwardly import ".enl" EndNote libraries, so the initial step is sending out your EndNote library for import into Zotero. The best fare organize for this is RIS. You may as of now have the style accessible in EndNote, however despite everything we prescribe that you get the most recent form of this style from the EndNote Output Style archive. When you download the style record, dissertation writing service uk put it in your \Styles catalog. On the other hand, you may take after style establishment bearings given by EndNote.

Thanks for sharing such a information with us..useful really...

Regards

Kristina

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