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Bibliographic Citation Tools Evaluation

This page describes an in-process evaluation of Bibliographic Citation Tools. If this is something of interest to you, contact Linda Gilbert ( or Patti Lee ( and ask to join in!

Why are we doing this

Both the Library and Educational Technology have received multiple requests for Endnotes or a similar program. We want to look at various products and make a recommendation for general campus use. It would be helpful if we could standardize on a program so that the AEC, Library, and Ed Tech can all support it.

However, at this time, there is no budget for software of this nature. The product of this evalutaion will be a recommendation (possibly with a cost estimate) to take to the administration. We are operating on the assumption that if we know what we want, we'll have a better chance of getting it!

We also want to look at some of the new free programs. If they can address the majority of student and faculty needs, we will need fewer licenses for highly-specialized programs.

Why not just use the citation generators in the databases? (from Patti)

  • Questions of accuracy of citations
  • Not all databases offer this
  • Limited number of styles supported
  • The features allow the generation of individual citation, but not the retaining & management of the citations

General Process

We want to include faculty members from a variety of discplines, to make sure that the needs of different groups are addressed. In addition, we want to include representatives from the AEC. (OET and the Library would be included as well, but are already represented by Linda and Patti).

Thus far, we have asked the Faculty Technology Committee to find representatives from their areas, to make sure that we don't leave anyone out.

Our first step will be to create a general plan. It will probably include identifying requirements, selecting programs that seem to meet those requirements, and then asking for volunteers to test those programs.

Timeline to Date

If you want to be notified of upcoming meetings and sent a calendar invite, contact Linda (


This section is currently under construction. We are trying to identify the key functionalities and characteristics of the product that we recommend.

Requirements may be

  • Technical
  • Functional
  • Pedagogical (Is this appropriate for students to use, or does it shortcut learning? Can we create class bibliographies from individual work?)
  • Cultural (How does it fit the culture of the college or discipline?)

The recommended product should (compiled from multiple sources):

  • Provide accurate citations
    • Range of citation formats
      • Popular citation styles
      • MLA, APA, Chicago
      • Turabian (definitely - used in History)
      • Specific citation styles
        • APSA American Political Science Association
        • American Chemical Society
    • Number of citation styles available
    • Support for new types of sources
    • Ability to cite web-based references and sources
  • Generate a bibliography quickly for an assignment
    • Possible reference list file formats: Word, Html, LaTex, RTF, Plain text, RSS, other
  • Cite a work from within a document
    • Word integration
    • OpenOffice, Kile, RTF?
  • Provide for citation management
    • Add/import citations in multiple formats
      • From Endnotes (since some faculty have existing databases)
      • Able to connect to library databases such as Galileo, ArXiv, Cite seer, IEEE explore, PubMed,
      • Possible formats: bibtex, Copac, CSA, Endnote, ISI, Medline, XML, Ovid, Pubmed, RIS, Scifinder, Other
    • Export bibliographies in multiple formats. (What output styles are provided? Can custom ones be created? Can data be exported to another tool?)
      • Possible export formats: BibTex, Endnote, Medline, RIS, XML, Word, HTML
    • Add tags to citations and use to manage
    • Search function
    • Compare duplicate references
  • Function on multiple operating systems (and browsers, for web-based products)
    • Windows, Mac, and Linux
    • Unix?
    • Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome
  • Be easy to use
    • Simple instructions, intuitive to use; possibly a wizard or tutorial
    • Ease of use for undergraduates
      • "Learn as they go"
    • Robust enough for faculty research (this needs a functional definition)
  • Allow for attaching images/pdfs/files
    • Organize a large number of pdf files
  • Be secure
    • Password protection

Other factors to consider

  • Number of citations allowed
  • Ease of off-campus access Web-based
    • Work offline when no internet available?
    • Desktop application available?
    • From multiple computers (same user)
    • Ability to maintain access to your sources if you leave the institution
    • Mobile apps?
  • How often are the programs updated (especially if citation formats change or new source-types become common)
  • Collaboration tools, to work collaboratively with others
    • Allow for sharing with others (such as for group projects)
  • Multiple projects per user account
  • Technical support offered/required
  • Networking capability (user-specific permissions, simultaneous write access)
  • Pricing

Ways YOU can help

  • Review functional requirements and comment here.
  • Comment on individual programs under consideration that you have used. (Click on individual program names under "Potential Software" to leave comments. Or email your comments to Linda Gilbert for posting.)
  • Survey your students. We have a survey you can use or adapt for your class. Please share any data you collect! Contact Linda Gilbert if you have any questions about the survey or its use.
  • Contribute to functional testing, beginning with accuracy of citations. Contact Linda Gilbert or Patti Lee for more information.

Resources and Potential Programs

Sites that include lists of software and even prior evaluation work:

Potential Software

Free or already available (Alphabetical order, with comments. More comments on links.).


Contributors to the Process

  • Linda Gilbert, OET - co-facilitator
  • Patti Lee, Library - co-facilitator
  • See individual meeting notes and signed wiki comments for additional contributors.
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