You wrote your paper, handed it in only to have it returned with a big red question mark on the reference page with a comment to "cite properly." It seems you didn't include the journal dates or volume information.
How easy is it going to be to track down these details?
Very easy, but only if you saved all your citations in an organized way—like your own personal database. In the next few sections we will look at the tools provided within databases and software that you can use to create your own personal library.
There are many products available that let you manage your citations. These let you collect, save, organize and display references in the citation style you need. Some work directly with word processing programs to search your library, download and insert reference while you write. You can then manipulate the references from within the text of your paper. Here is a list of some of the most common programs.
There is no need to ever misplace references again. Correct formatting for your bibliography is much easier with these tools, although still check each of your references for errors. You library of references is only as good as the data and filters that helped create it.
Compare the Options
These are just a few of the available software products currently on the market or free on the web. Check out the Wikipedia site Comparison of reference management software for a more complete listing.
Zotero is a free, web-based citation management product that has much of the functionality of EndNote Web. It is primarily used through a Firefox extension, which you can download from Zotero's site. New features, such as online sharing of bibliographies, are under constant development.
Auraria Library provides free access to EndNoteWeb for all students, faculty and staff on campus. This is made available through the library subscription to Web of Science. To create your account, go to the EndNote Web page from the list of library databases. EndNoteWeb saves your citations to their server. You can log in from any computer to access your library. You can also set up folders of references that can be shared by others with an EndNoteWeb account.
The Cite While You Write plug-in is a free toolbar that can be downloaded and used with Microsoft Word.
EndNoteWeb is intuitive to use (except for collecting citations from databases) and powerful. It can save up to 10,000 citations and works with all the library databases. The library offers classes on EndNoteWeb throughout the year. Many databases provide a link to export to EndNoteWeb (Web of Science, GoogleScholar, WorldCat.org) but most do not. It is possible to save and import data from our databases, see the Library's guide to EndNote Web for additional advice.
Mendeley is a free citation and document management tool. It is available by downloading the software to your computer. Like other citation management programs you can generate bibliographies, collaborate with others and organize your documents.
EndNote also has a software client available for purchase. The main advantage to the software over the Web version is that you can copy images, pdf files and other media into your EndNote library. It is also unlimited in the number of references you can have. You can use both EndNote and EndNote Web together, transfering files between the web and your computer. Another advantage to EndNote would be the file processing speed. Because the references are stored on your own computer, using Cite While Your Write can be faster.
Another product that you will see listed in database export is RefWorks. The library does not have a subscription to RefWorks, but you can purchase your own license. It functions very much like EndNote and has a web version.
You can email results from a database search. This will place them in a form where they can be retrieved later or saved to a disk. This option is very handy if you are in the library and do not have a removable drive (USB drive).
1. The URL that is attached to the records you are saving or emailing needs to contain proxy information that will direct your link through the library system. Here is a section of what one should look like:
Skyline is the name of the library catalog. NOT every database includes this information in the URL! Without you will not be able to link back to the record from off campus. Don’t panic. When this happens you still have the full citation, making it easy to go directly into the database to pull up the record.
2. Every database has a different command for saving and email. In an EBSCO database you need to put the item in a folder. When you look in your folder you will see the commands to save, email or export.
In the illustration from EBSCO items have been added to the folder. Click on the folder to view, save or export these items.
Google Scholar Alerts is a tool you can use to track citations for your own articles as well as for topics you are interested in. You can find more information about setting up Google Scholar Alerts on the Google Scholar Search Tips page.