Sunday, 28 August 2011

23 Things for Professional Development: Thing #14

Although I do, and have, used referencing tools in the past, I don't use them that often. When I studied for my degree they didn't really exist the way they do now, and when I was studying for my Masters it always seemed like more effort to learn how to use the tools available than to just copy and paste references in the way I had always been used to doing.

Since I started working as an Assistant Librarian I have learnt to use RefWorks, because that's what most of our academics use - and it's really useful for me to know how it integrates with the repository. I like RefWorks, and find it easy and intutive to use. But I've been keen to experiment with Mendeley for a while, because it also seems to be quite well-used amongst our academics- and is often mentioned in relation to repositories.

After reading the info about Thing 14, I was also keen to experiment with Zotero as it sounded like the best of the three referencing tools mentioned. After having a bit of a play, I really liked how easy it was to import references into Zotero, and the way it just automatically attaches full text where a PDF is available is great. (I should probably mention at this point that I use a Firefox browser at home, through choice, so the fact that I couldn't use Zotero in IE didn't really bother me). However, I found exporting the references out of Zotero somewhat less intutive. It was fine once I had figured out exactly what buttons to click, but it took a bit of a play to find them. The Start guide was of some help, but it didn't feel like I was being told everything I needed to know. This is only my first play with Zotero, but it's something I think I'll use a lot more in future (both for keeping track of my own references and suggesting to others) on this evidence.

I also had a go with Mendeley. I have to admit, so far I’ve found this somewhat less intuitive to use than Zotero. In contrast to the five minutes it took me playing with Zotero to download references and export them, it took fifteen minutes or so playing with Mendeley to understand the basics. Of course, it may just be me, because I know I can be impatient and lazy when experimenting with new things. I might have a go with Mendeley again in the future (especially if I get more academics asking me about it), but for now I think Zotero has won me over.

No comments:

Post a Comment