Anything that helps to manage references is a Good Thing.
Anything that helps to manage references that is free is a Very Good Thing.
In Cambridge the Very Good Things include Zotero, Mendeley and EndnoteWeb (but only because someone else paid the money), and the Good Things include EndNote and Reference Manager (which is actually not that high on my list of Good Things normally, but that might be because I don’t use it as much as the others).
I offer training sessions on Zotero, Mendeley & both versions of EndNote, and will turn my hand to training in reference manager if I can go to the person’s office and they’ve got it loaded on their computer. I specifically give training on EndnoteWeb to the small proportion of Part II students I see.
I’ve written rough guides to Zotero (needs updating!) and EndNoteWeb, I’ve enbedded Mendeley reference lists in department pages (will be going live shortly – I’ll add a link when it is live), I’ve shared references in EndNoteWeb with colleagues in Sheffield when we were writing a paper together.
All of which sounds like outrageous boasting (sorry!). They’re all just really really good tools, so the more we can support researchers and postgraduates, and indeed anyone else who’s writing a piece of work with a significant number of references, or gathering a large number of references together for any reason – the better. It makes us much more broadly skilled, and relevant and useful for more people. (read my previous rantings if you really want to get more of an idea…)
Things that drive me mad are
- when the reference wont go into zotero or mendeley and you only get a screen shot;
- when you can only download a limited number of references from a database (eg Ebsco access to PsycInfo has a library imposed (yes I have complained!) limit of 50 articles per set – imagine my mood when I had 300 articles to add to Mendeley
- when there’s a mixture of abreviated journal names and full journal names – makes for messy referencing!
- that I can’t get the public shared collections in Mendeley to present themselves in chronological order (an email to mendeley support is on my to do list)
- that I can’t always get RIS files to import to mendeley (an email to mendeley support etc…)
- that I just haven’t spent enough time to really get to grips – so I can get people started, but can’t help them with the more advanced functions… ah well, isn’t that just life!
they’re all great – it’s just chosing which one that can be tricky!