Growth of a Librarian


References
August 30, 2011, 12:25 pm
Filed under: CPD | Tags: , ,

Although I didn’t have any previous experience with Zotero, Mendeley or Citeulike, I have tried to use EndNote before.  Since I am currently working on my dissertation, and trying to keep track of a seemingly endless amount of citations for articles and books, services like these should be hugely useful.  Notice the ‘should be’?  This is a  sore point with me, because unfortunately upon my first introduction to EndNote in one of my graduate classes, just after I had become totally enthused about it and was already feeling a certain relief as I realized how useful it could be for my dissertation, I was also informed that actually it doesn’t support the citation format that we are required to use for our coursework.  Despite having no less than three adaptations of citation formats specifically labelled with our University’s name, none of them were quite the form we are expected to employ in our department (a modified form of Harvard).  This seemed insane to me, surely as long as we are consistent within our own work it doesn’t matter what reference style we use?  A librarian from the University library even told me this would be the case, but our professors have made it clear that we are to use this particular citation format and no others.  I was used to MLA (Modern Language Association) citation, which I could probably use acurately in my sleep, after using it throughout my final years of high school and four years of undergraduate work.  This crept into my citations in my early graduate course work (it’s still a struggle to keep it out), but even though I was using certain citation rules from MLA consistently, in substitution for Harvard rules that for some reason my brain didn’t like or that I hadn’t been able to track down the appropriate format for, those deviations were always marked as incorrect.  Quite frankly on something as important as my dissertation I’m not willing to trust that internal consistency will suddenly trump the assigned citation style.

The point of all this is that although I thoroughly love the function of citation tools like those covered in Thing 14, unfortunately I can’t make much use of them at present.  After having a brief look at the three options, Mendeley looks like the one I would be most likely to use.  It appears to do everything I want a citation service to do, automatically gleaning the necessary information from electronic materials, automatically inserting citations into documents, and storing citations in an orderly way.  It also seems to be fairly user-friendly, which I appreciate, since there is something indefineable about the look and flow of EndNote that I don’t quite like.  This is definitely a tool worth keeping in mind for future use, even if I can’t use it right now.

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