Tools to Help Create a Bibliography
April 1, 2009
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WEST HAVEN–It’s that time of year when students flock to the library with questions on how to cite resources and create bibliographies for their papers. While we are always happy to help, there are some other resources available to students.
From now until April 24, the Marvin K. Peterson Library is offering a trial version of RefWorks, an online research management tool. RefWorks can help you keep track of research resources and automatically create in-text citations and bibliographies. By using separate folders, you can organize your work by project, course, or subject. You can also share resources with others and attach files to retain access to full-text articles. Many of our databases, such as PsychInfo, Academic OneFile, and Science Reference Center allow you to export citations directly from the database to RefWorks. Once you have citations saved in RefWorks, you can access them from any computer, wherever you have Internet access. However, as with any machine-generated citation, there may be formatting errors. Be sure to check your citations against a style guide before turning in your paper.
Another management tool is Zotero, a free download from Firefox. With Zotero you can add citations of books, articles, and websites by simply clicking an icon in the URL. Zotero reads the screen for pertinent citation information and automatically creates a citation record. Citations can be saved in different files and tagged to help manage your research. PDF or Word attachments can provide quick access to the full text of articles. Zotero provides a plug-in that works with Word 2007 to insert citations and create bibliographies. The downside to Zotero is that it is tied to the specific computer on which you installed it. On the other hand, Zotero is very user friendly and the learning curve is not as steep as with RefWorks.
For those of you with Microsoft Office 2007, the new Reference tab in Word will also keep track of your citations. With this feature you can create, insert and manage citations in MLA, APA, Chicago, and other citation styles. To create a list of references in Word 2007, click the References tab and Manage Sources. From here you can add new or edit existing entries. A drop down menu allows you to choose a style, and the Bibliography button creates a formatted bibliography for your paper. Since the data is stored on the hard drive, library computers will not retain information for later use. Another disadvantage is that you cannot import citation data and must type in the information manually.
Many of the databases offered through the Library (EBSCO, ProQuest, and Gale) provide a “Cite This” or similar tool that creates a pre-formatted citation of the article currently selected. Once you create a citation you can copy and paste it to your bibliography. CAUTION: while the information is usually correct, there are often formatting errors. Again, be sure to check your citations against a style guide before turning in your paper.
For the less technically-inclined, help is also available from print style guides found in the library and online guides from the Guides link on the library’s home page. These resources provide explanations and examples of how to format citations and bibliographies. To find out more about RefWorks and Zotero, or to get help with your bibliography, stop by the library, call us at (203) 932-7189, or send an e-mail to [email protected]