Reference Management Programs
A critical part of the student research process is keeping track of references (citations)—journal papers, books, web pages, facts, pictures, quotes, etc—that support their research so that they can properly cite them in their work using a required publication style. In an increasing online research environment reference management programs can assist by:
- Collecting references from online sources, e.g., the HSU Library Catalog, research databases, web pages, and other sources; or by manual input.
- Storing and managing these references in searchable folders.
- Linking to the full text of references, if available, and allowing addition of personal notes.
- Generating bibliographies or inserting references into papers composed in Microsoft Word or other word processors and automatically formatting them in a required publication style, e.g., MLA, APA , or CSE.
Two Recommended Programs:
- EndNote Web (http://www.endnoteweb.com/) — This web-based program is available free to all HSU students, faculty and staff as part of the HSU Library’s subscription to Thomson/Reuters databases. The program is available wherever there is Internet access. Continuing access to this program is available for up to two years after leaving HSU.
- Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/) — This is a free open-source add-on for Firefox that lives in the browser after being downloaded and installed. To increase portability of collected and stored references Zotero can be synchronized with their online site so that references can be accessed from any location. A second portability option is to use Portable Firefox (http://www.zotero.org/support/kb/portable_firefox) which can be stored on a USB drive or HSU network drive.
Both these programs are available to all HSU students, faculty and staff. References created in one program can be ported to the other program or to another reference management program (http://library.humboldt.edu/~rls/references.html).
In addition to using the basic functions of these programs to improve the student research process one can:
- Create stand-alone bibliographies or annotated bibliographies. Both programs have output formats for annotated bibliographies.
- Collaboratively build or share a reference list for class or group research projects. Both programs allow the creation of user groups. Anyone can set up a group with the extent of user access determined by the group owner. Access can be read only, entirely read and write, or read and write to selective group members.
- Check student progress towards completion of an assigned research project by having students generate a report of sources compiled to date.
- Generate class reading lists with full text links that can be imbedded into Moodle or any web page.
See Zotero’s Use Cases (http://www.zotero.org/support/use_cases) for other examples of classroom use.
Correlation with Student Learning:
Use of these programs can enhance student learning by:
- Increasing research competence and critical evaluation of reference sources.
- Increasing understanding of and competence in source documentation.
- Using program search features to discover new information connections among reference sources that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
- Building self-identification as an emerging scholar in a discipline as a student collects reference sources as a freshman and continues the process through the completion of a senior project.
For a learning “scenario” see EDUCAUSE’s 7 things you should know about…Zotero (http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7041.pdf”)
- Using EndNote Web at HSU (Humboldt State University Library) http://library.humboldt.edu/~rls/endnote_web.html
- Zotero (Georgia State University Library) http://research.library.gsu.edu/zotero
Written by and Adapted from: Martha Johanson, Humboldt State University Library & Rowena Santiago, Teaching Resource Center, CSUSB