Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reference Managers on Parade - Part I

Everyone has a massive reference library, but few know how to manage it. Ideally, you want an application that will let you record all of your papers and import formatted citations into a document. In the upcoming series of posts, I'm going to review some reference managers, both open source and commercial.

This program is the classic reference management program, and probably one of the most widely supported by publishers. It has been around for years now, and it shows the polish and feature richness that you would expect for a mature program. This is not an open source or free program, but I include it here just as a standard of comparison.
Pros: The Cite-While-You-Write feature is quite handy; this tool allows you to build your paper's reference list automatically while you type the paper (hence the name for this feature!). Also, Endnote has a very broad output styles database, and it is quite easy to build reference styles (JVP even has a style available from the journal website). You can format italics within each bibliographic entry. It is quite easy to import references from journal websites, too. Available for both Windows and the Mac OS.
Cons: It's expensive - $250 to download, and $300 (oops, I mean $299.95) to have a physical copy shipped to you. Also, there are occasional functionality issues if you try to run the program under WINE (and Cite-While-You-Write doesn't work in No native Linux version is available.
The Bottom Line: If you can afford it, Endnote is the way to go. It has polish and pizazz, and it is widely supported. Linux users are better off looking elsewhere, though.

1 comment:

Julia said...

Excellent - I shall look forward to your comparisons. I used to have Endnote on my laptop (Paul lifted it for me when he was a student at LSE - it was available free to all students and he figured at the time he was borrowing the laptop during the day so he could justify it), but one hard drive reinstall later it's been lost to the ether. I've downloaded BiblioExpress but need to be able to open my Endnote library to export it, so I'll be interested to read about other pieces of software.