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American Government & Politics: Citing Sources

Why Cite Resources?

Citing resources in your research papers acknowledges that other people have influenced your ideas. Citations are also used to support your own ideas and arguments and to place your research in the larger context of a field of study (for instance, in a literature review or an annotated bibliography).

Citing work is essential to avoid accusations of plagiarism.

What is a Citation Management Tool?

A citation management tool (also known as a reference manager application or a bibliographic manager) can be a useful tool for anyone doing research. Reference managers allow you to:

  • Create bibliographies quickly and automatically format in-text citations with word processing software (Word, Google Docs, Open Office).

  • Collect citations as you research, and save them in a personal account.

  • Add citations automatically certain sources without having to cut and paste or retype the information.

  • Annotate citations and link them to full-text documents.

  • Organize citations into folders.

While a number of reference manager applications exist, the most popular ones among researchers are: Zotero, Endnote, Mendeley, and RefWorks.

Please use the tabs to decide which is best for you.  One thing to keep in mind is that it can be hard to switch from one platform to another.  You can export your citations, but transferring tags or folders will be difficult.

Mendeley

How it works:

  • A FREE tool available to everyone. Software application available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS devices.  Also available via a web interface.

How to get it:

Strengths:

  • Manages not only citations, but also creates a well-managed library of your imported papers. 

  • Regularly syncs content between machines and with the web version, keeping you always up to date. 

  • Mendeley is the most social of citation managers.  You can form groups to share resources and citations within your lab/study group/cohort. 

  • Integrates with MS Word for easy inserting of citations/bibliographies.

Weaknesses:

  • Mendeley is owned by Elsevier, a for-profit company with a history of monetizing scholarship in ways that some consider harmful to the academy. Like other “free” platforms operated by for-profit companies, Mendeley provides Elsevier with data about users’ research habits, which it then uses to market its services and metrics to universities. This is part of an overall trend toward vendors serving and monetizing every step in the research workflow. Researchers concerned about privacy or excessive monetization of research might prefer non-profit alternatives.

How to get help:

Citing Sources

EndNote Web: a Web-based service designed to help students and researchers through the process of writing a research paper. Undergraduate students can organize their references for citing in papers. Professional researchers and graduate students can use EndNote Web as the perfect complement to EndNote and other desktop writing tools, as well as storing references between ISI Web of Knowledge search sessions.

 

Zotero: an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. It has the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references and the best parts of modern software and web applications (like iTunes and del.icio.us), such as the ability to interact, tag, and search in advanced ways. Zotero integrates tightly with online resources; it can sense when users are viewing a book, article, or other object on the web, and on many major research and library sites find and automatically save the full reference information for the item in the correct fields.

 

EasyBib (Write Smart): The free version of EasyBib formats citations in the latest edition of the MLA format (currently the 7th edition). To use EasyBib's APA formatting services, sign up for MyBib Pro by clicking here: https://www.mybib.com/#/projects/ZeOY99/citations.

 

KnightCite: an online citation generator service provided by the Hekman Library of Calvin College. This service simplifies the often tedious task of compiling an accurate bibliography in the appropriate style by formatting the given data on a source into a reliable citation, eliminating the need to memorize minute details of style for multiple kinds of sources. The service is provided free of charge by the college, and is available to members both within and outside of the Calvin community.

 

JabRef: an open source bibliography reference manager. The native file format used by JabRef is BibTeX, the standard LaTeX bibliography format. JabRef runs on the Java VM (version 1.5 or newer), and should work equally well on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

 

Son of Citation Machine: Professional researchers to properly credit the information that they use. Its primary goal is to make it so easy for student researchers to cite their information sources, that there is virtually no reason not to -- because Someday The Information That Someone Else Wants To Use -- Will Be Yours!

 

refbase: This web database lets you manage your academic references online, and share them with your colleagues. Using this free web service you can upload your references and see what others are reading, the database currently features 24047 records, organize and group your references, and assign keywords to them, so it's easy to get back to a reference, generate a formatted list of citations for your academic paper or CV (as HTML, RTF, PDF, or LaTeX), export references to desktop reference managers (such as Endnote, or Reference Manager) or BibTeX, and import records from common bibliographic formats and online databases.

We’re a small, distributed team working on a variety of products that make teachers' and students life's easier. We’re focusing on writing and productivity tools. We are starting off supporting the APA, MLA, and Chicago citation format. Over the next months, we'll add more formats and expand on features.