Attending the learning seminar regarding reference management tools enlightened me to the different tools available at present and how they can be used most effectively. Some of the key learning outcomes I achieved were improving my knowledge of Endote, Latex & Bibtex and Mendeley and comparing these different management tools.
Before taking this seminar I did not have much experience with management tools. I had some familiarity with Endnote but had not used it for any assignments myself as I did not require to list. However it was interesting to learn that the Endnote 6 offered by QUT has four QUT styles included in it and now includes a window that showcases the PDFs associated with their reference. I feel this would be very beneficial to students as it allows them to not only collate references but resources also. This makes it much easier for students to find relevant documents and reference correctly according to the appropriate QUT referencing styles. Endnote web was also discussed and this now has the added benefit of syncing with the desktop and recognising duplicate references and allowing for them to be identified and discarded as necessary. Endnote web is interesting as it allows users to use the management software from any desktop with an internet connection. However the fault with this tool is that it needs an internet connection to work and allow users to access their lists and libraries.
Endnote web is similar to Mendeley, another online reference tool. Before this class I had not heard of this tool but now understand that it is both an online and desktop reference tool. One of its main benefits over Endnote is that it can enrich its data/metadata from the internet a lot better than Endnote. You can also see others and interact within Mendeley communities, which is beneficial as users can see what their colleges or peers are also reading and referencing. One downside of Mendeley is that it is run and owned by a private company. For the users this could mean it shuts down and disappears overnight, it is not reliable like Endnote which is used by many more people and is a large company.
The other reference management tool looked at was Latex and Bibtex. These are very interesting tools mainly used by scientists, engineers and mathematicians as it allows them to write formulas. When they complete the references they look great however to get to that stage a lot more is involved when compared to Endnote or Mendeley. Two systems must be installed and the codes to write the correct references and formulas need to be known. This means users must be very knowledgeable of this tool before they can use it efficiently and correctly.
From attending this session it is apparent that an information professional must be aware of reference management tools as they are used by many users and directly relate to library services within the learning and teaching environment. By learning about Endote, Mendely and Latex and Bibtex their similarities and differences could be identified. Also which users they would suit in particular could be seen. Overall this session was very enlightening in respect to reference management tools and how they can be used by users.
Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities