Friday, March 16, 2007

Use EndNote!

A senior grad student asked me the other day about "acquiring" a copy of EndNote. I was shocked. This guy was within a year of graduating and he was just now asking about EndNote! Unbelievable. When it comes to managing citations, bibliographies, and papers on your hard drive EndNote gets the job done. For some reason (read: money) grad students still hesitate or wait for the big paper or thesis when they can't put it off any longer to consider getting EndNote. Get EndNote now! The student version is totally affordable and your school may even have a discount. Here are four key reasons to get EndNote (or a similar citation/literature organizing software):

  1. If you ever have to write a paper with more than 10 citations, it will be a royal pain in the ass to keep changing them without it.
  2. If you plan on writing a thesis, it will most certainly have more than 10 citations so you're going to need it then anyways, so get it now.
  3. If you have more than 30 papers on your hard drive and need to find a specific paper, EndNote is an absolute beauty. You can search through papers by any criteria (or so it feels) and the search is faster than Gmail searching through your mail. Plus in the recent versions you can "link to pdf" and/or "link to url" so when you find the paper in EndNote, you've found the paper period.
  4. You don't have to manually type in all the paper information. Essentially all large literature databases have a "send to Endnote" option, so you just click on that button when you get to the article and it puts into Endnote for you. It even politely asks you which library you want it in.

I have only now started putting all of my papers into EndNote and implementing point 3 instead of just scrolling by author in my huge folder of papers and not finding what I'm looking for because the paper was in another folder. Although, I must mention, keeping certain papers (or shortcuts to them) in a certain folder for quick browsing can be convenient, but I'll write about that later. So get EndNote, it makes life a lot easier.

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