I have too many citations. How do I manage them?

What is citation management software?

Citation management software basically allows users to create their own database of references gathered from bibliographic databases, web sites, or other sources. A user can then edit, append, and format these references and create bibliographies or share the references with others. A good citation management software program will help you organize your references while conducting research for papers and projects.

Why should I use it?

  1. Most programs will create a bibliography for you and work with your word processing program to insert correctly formatted citations into the appropriate place in your papers. Don't like the format? No problem! You can easily change the formatting style at almost any point in the writing process.
  2. Using one of these programs is not necessarily less work, but it will allow you to work more efficiently. Not only can you enter citations by hand, but you can also import citations from most of the library's reference databases. In many cases, you will also be able to include descriptors, abstracts, and even links to fulltext, in your database.
  3. Can't remember which article had that really important piece of data? Need a particular article you read to win that argument with your advisor? Once the information is entered, you can edit it as needed, even adding your own notes about each article. You will then be able to search your references in a variety of ways.

Which packages are available from Reed? Are there others I should consider?

There are so many programs out there to try, but the ones that are suggested and/or supported by Reed are:
EndNote
EndNote Web
BookEnds
JabRef
BibDesk

There is also a nice little extension for Firefox called Zotero that you might like. 

OK. So, which one should I use?

Well, that depends on many factors:

1. Costs: Price is often a determining factor when making decisions, but not in this case. All of the above programs are currently free (or, at least free-to-Reedies).

2. Platform/word processing program: Both EndNote and EndNote Web work with any platform, work seamlessly with Word, and can export in BibText format. BookEnds ONLY works with OS X, also works seamlessly with Word and also exports in BibText format. If you are using LaTeX, though, JabRef or BibDesk are really for you. Created just for use with LaTeX, both of these programs make importing references for use into BibTex exceptionally easy!

3. Compatability with friends/advisors/collaborators: Although it is important to be able to share your citations, this factor isn't as much of a stumbling block as it once was. Most of the suggested programs export/import many formats with out loss of data, so sharing is pretty easy.

4. Z39.50 Search Capability: Many people feel this important. The Z39.50 protocol allows you to search library databases directly from whichever citation management software you are using. Some people MUST have this capability, some understand it is not all that useful. Either way, Bookends and EndNote can do this with some of our resources. 

5. Accessibility: All of the programs listed above can be accessed via IRC or downloaded to your personal machine. Your references can be exported and saved on your home server or some other storage system. EndNote Web is fully accessible from ANYWHERE through the proxy server.

Convinced? Check out the following table for an overview of the products and how to access them.

  EndNote EndNote Web BookEnds BibDesk JabRef
Cost Free to Reedies Free to Reedies Free to Reedies Free Free
Save references
Organize & edit references
Storage capacity unlimited 10,000 unlimited unlimited unlimited
Import from many databases and OPACs
Cite & format papers with bibliographies With Word With Word (On Windows) With Word with BibTeX with BibTeX
Work Offline (anytime/anywhere)  
Operating System Windows or OS X Windows or OS X OS X OS X Windows or OS X or Linux
Works with Word    
Works With BibTeX exports .bib file exports .bib file exports .bib file
Export Formats RTF, .txt, HTML, XML, .bib RTF, .txt, HTML, XML, .bib .txt, HTML, XML, .bib RIS, XML, RTF, RSS, .doc RIS, XML, RTF, RSS, .doc
Search Research Databases WoS, PubMed & OPACs Amazon, PubMed & OPACs PubMed PubMed & CiteSeer
Help?

What if I need help?

That is the easy part. If you are having trouble downloading, installing or using the software with Word or LaTeX, talk to CUS.

If you are having trouble importing references, choosing a format, or searching a database, talk to your Subject Librarian.