Bibliographic Software

The library, in coordination with the Office of Instructional and Research Technology and with the Center of for the Advancement of Teaching, is currently considering implementing a university-wide site license for bibliographic database software. The two prime candidates are EndNote and RefWorks.

For those unfamiliar with these tools, both allow people to collect and organize bibliographic data for their research while searching through library indexes. This creates a complete reference list which can be inserted into papers during the writing process. In most cases it will automatically format all citations for the particular writing or publication style needed.

People who already use this type of software are more likely to be familiar with EndNote, but for central distribution it makes more sense to use RefWorks. EndNote works by requiring people to install the software on their own computers then uses the network to link to library resources, while RefWorks is accessed via a web site and allows people to save the collected data to their own computers when needed. Since everyone accesses RefWorks through the network, any updates to library resources are handled automatically, whereas users of EndNote would need to download and install updated "filters".

Naturally people can continue to use whichever product they choose, regardless of the university site license. A site license would merely lower the cost (possibly to nothing) to students, faculty and staff for new purchases, as well as allow the university to concentrate on fully supporting the software in a way that is not currently possible.

OIRT is soliciting feedback on the choice. They have arranged for demonstrations of the two products. EndNote has a 30-day free trial on their web site, and RefWorks is allowing the Rutgers community access to their web site during our evaluation period. Anyone interested can sign up for the demonstrations at OIRT.

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This page contains a single entry by Joseph Delaney published on October 3, 2005 11:17 AM.

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