To EndNote or not to EndNote?

In this post, Sue Stevens from Library Services’ Research Skills Team shares her experience on reference management software, and EndNote in particular.

Citing the sources you have used in a piece of research is obviously very important, but the task of citing and referencing correctly can be an onerous task. x8_mainapp_rgb-largeOver the years I have supported many students, undergraduates and postgraduates, with referencing and the use of referencing software.  I’ve also observed a range of different reactions when I introduce students to the wonders of referencing software, ranging from fear and scepticism to joy and ecstasy!   So what can referencing software do for you, and in particular, what can EndNote offer a researcher? 

Referencing software, why bother?

As a researcher you will have been used to referencing your sources and at the beginning of your research programme you might think it’s not necessary to go to the trouble of learning how to use a moderately complex piece of software to help you reference, after all you’ve got enough to think about and you know what you are doing.  It’s all too easy to say to yourself, I’ll do my referencing manually, that’s what I’ve done in the past when writing short articles, essays, even my masters, it’s quicker to just insert the citations and references myself, I know the style, I can quickly edit the citations and get it done without too much trouble.   My advice would be to think again.  A PhD is a major piece of research, done over many years, and you need to keep track of all the references you have found, where they have come from, make notes on the items you have read, organise the information into themes, etc.  This is where EndNote can really help, there’s a lot more to EndNote than just referencing, it can change your life!

EndNote, what does it do?

EndNote allows you to maintain a database (library) of references.  References can be directly exported from subject resources e.g. Google Scholar, JSTOR, PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, library catalogues and many other resources. You can even directly import PDFs from your computer into EndNote, highlight and annotate PDFs and search on any notes you have made.   You can also set EndNote to search for full text (from our subscription collection and freely available sources) and automatically attach to references.  Information can be organised into folders (called groups), and you can search your library for references.  EndNote integrates with Word and PowerPoint, which means you can Cite While You Write and produce bibliographies in an appropriate style for submission or publication.  There are over 700 referencing styles to choose from and you can edit citations and styles to suit your needs.

If you are working on a group project, or working with colleagues to write a paper, you can share your library with other people, no matter where they are located, and there’s an activity log to keep track of any changes made to the shared library.

EndNote really is a useful tool – don’t be put off by learning a new piece of software, it really is worth getting to grips with, and it will save you so much time!

For more information, see the i-cite website or sign up for a worskhop.

Do you use referencing software?  If so, is it EndNote or something else?  What are the benefits you have found?  What limitations does it have?



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