Reference management

Daniel Büchner
04/02/11 09:06:32PM

Funny enough -- after all the work and heartbleeding authors put into their work: it usually comes to an end when starting the bibliography ...

Self-made bibliographies are usally a mess -- inconsequently styled, full of mistakes and wrong citations! :-((( -- which isn't eased by journals and other publishers, each of which has its own citation style/system ...

I consequently ask my authors to use a reference managment programs, two of which I list here -- both have their own individual advantages and disadvantages, therefore each should be tested which suit best...

Both programs are more or less BibTeX based but import and export to the major reference datbase formats:

1. Citavi : Windows based program, now with English localisation.

Commercial programm, but not expensive, campus licences and a free testversion available.

Quote from the web-page:

Search over 4000 databases and library catalogs
Add books automatically by ISBN and journal articles by DOI
Built-in preview for PDF, text, image, and multimedia files
Publish in over 600 citation styles
Organize knowledge: save quotations, thoughts, and comments
Plan and track tasks
Collaborate in a team

2. JabRef: Java program -- Platform independent.

OpenSource. GPL Licence.

The internet search isn't as good as citavi but the general handling is a bit easier, works quite well with OpenOffice.

Have fun,


Research Cooperative
31/07/11 02:57:47PM @chief-admin:

Dear Daniel,

Here is an important new service that has apeared quite recently...

Mendeley : "a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research."

I few of my research colleagues have been encouraging me to join up. Mendeley offers free services that are useful, but they are a hook for more intensive use that requires payment.... i.e. a common model of online business development. I wish we could be so organised (and well supported) here at the Research Cooperative.

The support for Mendeley is amazing -- it is "funded by some of the people behind Skype , , and Warner Music ."

Daniel Büchner
05/02/11 02:58:25AM @daniel-buchner:

No groaning at all -- I'd be happy if all authors would work as carefully as you ... ;-)))

Endnote is not bad a program -- it certainly set the standart -- but I feel that citavi is more comfortable.

Endnote also concentrates on English libraries for internet search, Continental and especially German bibliographic databases are seemingly not included...

You might give it a try (importing endnote files is possible)

-- but the best program usually is the one you know best how it works ... ;-))

Generally everyone should use a RMS:

it's so much work if you cut & paste references from old articles into a new -- basically it's to do the same work again and again and again -- no wonder that one's fed up with it !!!

With an RMS one only has to do the tedious work of building a database once, afterwards it's so easy to mark the needed entries in a list an print them, or even easier you use the available plugins and build up the bibliography while you only cite the reference in the text ...

I still wonder why so many people I know still refuse to use an RMS ...

Research Cooperative
04/02/11 10:42:16PM @chief-admin:

Many years ago I got locked into using Endnote, which has served me well as place to maintain a listing of books, reprints, and photocopies that I keep stored in alphabetical order on my shelves. I often go to this first in order to find the article on my shelf, as I have a terrible memory for names. I remember what people said, but not who said it.

This helps me integrate the work of other authors into my publications, but I still end up doing a lot of manual cross-checking from bibliography to text, and text to bibliography. I do this in a number of steps...

When the first full draft is complete, I highlight all the citations in a printed copy of text, with a pen, and then list them manually by name and year on a separate sheet of paper. At this point I can also note which citations are not yet fully described in the text (I might not have inserted the names of all authors, or the date of publication, for example).

I then compare the manual list with the draft bibliography that has been patched together in my first draft of the full paper. The first-draft bibliography is usually a combination of references inserted and formatted using Endnote, and other references that were not yet entered into Endnote. Comparison with the manual list allows me to spot (a) missing references in the draft bibliography, and (b) references in the draft that are not actually cited in paper, as a result of revisions made before completing the first draft.

This all gets me close to having a coherent and complete bibliography. I repeat the process with my final revised text, and can then be fairly confident that mistakes have been ironed out.

Daniel might groan at my inefficiency, but I actually enjoy browsing and cross-checking the reference list manually, as it gives me a last chance consider the necessity of each reference, or the possible need for additional references. It is a kind of mechanical but meditative step that is helpful.