I am currently hesitating which reference manager should I use for my PhD thesis on Urban Sociology. I confess that so far I have been using EndNote X7 and I am kind of happy with it. Nevertheless, I dont feel confortable with it. Sometimes, when working with Word for Mac, it gets mad, and the quotations are not exactly what I expected. Maybe its because I have never been taught about how to use it properly… but I believe that the key for a good reference manager should be its intuitive use.
I have always loved EndNote’s search on external databases tool, and the sync with EndNote web and its app for iPad; but… now I feel is not enough. It is not as far as I am working a lot with my iPhone. Indeed… writing with it! Nothing better than one hour stuck on the transit to write “text mode” your thesis. Endnote app is not supported on iPhone, and it gets me kind of mad, as it means that -if I get sticked with this reference manager- I won’t be able to advance on my lectures. Obviously I use other apps for reading my awesome and endless library…. Ains…
Sometimes is better give a try to other softwares and check how green is our neighbor’s grass. It took my attention a comment posted on one of my favorite blogs (http://thesiswhisperer.com) where Dr Inger Mewburn explained her frustration due to a fail of Endnote and how she felt in love with many other reference managers.
I hope that Dr Pope offers me a course soon of this software as she referred that was “the most handy and user friendly”. She even mentioned that her students preferred Zotero to any other reference manager.
Papers was the favored by Dr Mewburn (after Mr ThesisWisperer considerations and productivity analysis). She was using on the time of writing that post the same computer I use, 😉 and seems that was a good idea. It is a native application for Mac and seems that works awesomely. If they offer me a free account I wouldn’t say no… but as a poor student every penny counts!
Refworks is the one that is not really calling my attention and I admit that I am very tempted by Mendeley as it’s a very social, multi-platform, and integrates good resources web. It works with my iPhone and is friendly enough as much as aesthetically correct. Seems that is one of the best on importing metadata from PDF and let’s say the truth… we work with many PDF!
The following comparison table is kind of interesting, but there are values not compared as much as the No. of citation styles supported, No. of import filters…
|Basic software package (includes all features listed below)||Free||$250*||$100||Free||$79*
|Free web storage space (online backup of your papers)||2GB||1GB||NA||300MB||NA|
|Organization of PDFs and other documents|
|Citation Plug-ins for Word|
|Citation Plug-ins for LibreOffice|
|Annotations/Highlighting in PDFs|
|Cross-platform synching across desktop, web and mobile devices|
|Free and open database approaching 100 million documents|
|Personalized paper recommendations|
|Readership statistics & community tags|
|Open Web API|
|Full text search across all your papers|
|Search across external databases||Almost there!|
|Compatibility with all modern web browsers|
|Compatibility with Mac/Win/Linux|
|Product feedback forum|
|Library systems integration/EZProxy Support||Almost there!|
|Metadata Extraction Technology|
|Extraction of DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) from PDFs|
|Extraction of PubmedIDs and ArxivIDs from PDFs|
|Extraction of embedded metadata from PDFs|
|Extraction of citation details from PDFs without embedded metadata|
Table by Mendeley
*Checked: student discounts available
What is behind them?
Accordingly with a Wikipedia comparison table…. we find this interesting information:
|Software||Developer||First public release||Latest stable release date||Latest stable version||Cost (USD)||Free software||License||Notes|
|EndNote||Thomson Reuters||1988||11/8/15||X7.4||US$299.95||No||Proprietary||The web version EndNote basic(formerly, EndNote Web) is free of charge|
|Mendeley||Elsevier||2008-08||2015||1.15.2||Free / Online storage free up to 2 GB / Additional storage space available||No||proprietary(OS API clients exist)||Desktop & Web components, Windows, Linux, OS X, iPhone & iPad|
|Papers||Springer||2007||13/10/14||3.2.3||US$79||No||Proprietary||search repositories from interface; supports plug-ins, Universal iOS app|
|RefWorks||RefWorks / ProQuest||2001||2013||US$100 per year||No||Proprietary||web-based, browser-accessed, centrally hosted program|
|Zotero||Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media atGMU||5/10/06||8/4/15||126.96.36.199 ||Free / Online storage free up to 300 MB / Additional storage space available||Yes||AGPL||Firefox extension or stand-alone with connectors for Chrome and Safari. Web-based access to reference library also available.|
Wikipedia last modified on 5 January 2016, at 11:28.
Article includes other comparisons of good value
Basically… the bigger editorial houses are behind these projects. It is not surprise, obviously, but it help us understand as well their affiliations with certain universities or research areas.
This table is refers as well to the extensions and OS compatibilities, but I would have to add that Ref.ME as a good assistant on the road. You can be in a library, a book store and find a book or text that you want to review latter. You have just to scan and the quotation will be synch on line up to be exported and worked. I am using it so far, and I am very happy with it. I think that it is the scan recognition that is missing on the other reference managers. We do not always have the digital document or PDF and this tool helps a lot!