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Citation Generators: Part I

Dewey welcomes Guest Blogger Jane Kessler, who is offering up her expertise on citation generators.

You’ve done your research and written your paper. Now comes the part most people find tedious and boring – formatting your bibliography. Programs like EndNote, can do this for you automatically, among other things, but they can be expensive and have a steep learning curve. Because they have some many features, they are usually more appropriate for doctoral students and faculty. There are other options. There are several interactive online tools that help students format bibliographies. These tools are inexpensive, easy to use, and convenient. In upcoming days the following tools will be described: Zotero, Noodlebib, Easybib, Citation Machine, and DocsCite.

A Few Words of Caution

These new tools are a great way to simplify creating a bibliography, but users should keep a few things in mind. Remember that responsibility for accurate citations rests with the author of the paper. These programs are a great starting point, but users should review the citations. Most of the sites have disclaimers directing users to the appropriate style manual for definitive guidelines. A good way to check citations is to use the library’s handouts (http://library.albany.edu/reference/style.html.)
When using citation generators, the old rule applies: garbage in, garbage out. If you enter the publisher’s name as the author’s name, these programs will not correct it. In addition, these types of programs typically don’t have spell checkers and you may have to enter the data a certain way for the citation to be correct. So enter your data carefully according to the instructions and be sure to use spell check once you’ve transferred the bibliography to your word processing program.

Next week: Zotero and Noodlebib...