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Most notably, if you are serious about editing then it is vital to have a proper separation of content and display of content, which WYSIWIG lacks and which makes it fundamentally flawed. Excel and similar spread-sheet tools are even worse. Here a three-fold division should be present, but is invariably missing: input data, calculated data, and display of data. But for now tags are good enough.
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Endnote can go weird when working with large word documents in lots of successive updates… like a thesis draft. This happened to me at the end of my PhD, and all the references moved position in the text. The answer turned out to be pretty simple after I got over the heart attack. It also is a really good advertisement for keeping regular backups! Thanks for the explanation — and great to have a solution. I never used the master documents feature because I was warned about it, but it still happened. I suspect, after reading some of these wonderful comments thanks everyone!
You also need to remember to work with unformatted citations when merging documents together such as moving thesis chapters together into one document. Truth is that probably it is not wise to write a whole thesis in one Word doc. I try not to use Word for anything if I can help it. At best I would use one Word doc per chapter. I had a colleague recently who still has PhD students who just sits there open mouthed when he sees this. I think we talked about this on twitter but I like Endnote as a reference manager but never really use it integrated with word because it was so buggy when I did try this years ago like 8 years ago so maybe it is better.
I just write references them as I go and just maintain a working bibliography separately as I like to be able to quickly see my bibliography. That said I have used Zotero on and off and am using it now for a collaborative project, I do like the way it works well with webpages and news and images. And someone just showed me an app for Zotero where you can use your phone to scan barcodes and it uploads all the bibliographic info into Zotero. Also ever since moving to mac I am less fond of the endnote interface.
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I might have a play with the Papers2 free trial. Thesis Whisperer, I am finding your original post with cautionary tale and your experience with different reference managers, AND these comments by others, extremely helpful as I try to choose one. And Microsoft Word has always been dangerous to use for really long documents. Word started life as a little program envisioned for business letters and brochures.
It was not designed with very large documents in mind. Adobe FrameMaker, the unstructured version, was excellent four or five years ago, and does have a learning curve, but will never, ever bite you. Unfortunately, FrameMaker is expensive. I got out of tech writing and now work at a solar installer. I use Mendeley pretty much because of the iTunes resemblance. The freeware part was also a huge reason for choosing it, I had no money when I started this gig.
The only thing I like about payed software is that you have someone to turn to or yell at, which leads me to the following: Why did you have to find an obscure forum when you could have just called customer support or something similar? In short: For me its Mendeley all the way! Best wishes from Mexico! I tried customer support via my library, which should have worked.
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As the document gets larger, everything gets a little less stable. Another huge tip is to only ever have a single Library otherwise the formatting of the citations can get mixed up , and deduplicate your Library before starting to enter citations into your word processor. I fell in love with Zotero in and instantly became an early adopter.
Each time, Zotero had my back and all of my research notes backed up to the cloud. It is beautiful. I also used Zotero for the final copies of my dissertation.
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I literally compiled my bibliography in 15 minutes. It was awesome. Than you, Laura,The pre-session testing and cocuinimatmon comes from experience, my co-workers and I are often on the receiving end of a call from someone who wants to train in one of the labs we manage. We try to do our best to rush changes, but sometimes I think we feed their expectations doing so; the same people tend to do it over and over again. I wish there was a way to contact the other people who read the same documents that you have. Or a research collaboration match-making tool. Maybe they will come. Maybe they are there, but I missed them.
I turned to Mendeley because it was the easiest to use of the freebies. It has glitches…like chapters with lots of references go slowly unless you use IEEE and change to Harvard at the end. Also, it has a limited online free account size but this can be overcome if you only synch the titles not PDFs with the online account.
Their customer service is usually good, and the support page has loads of topics to browse. And easily? You can create reference styles in Papers2. I have the iPad app so I read my articles on my iPad which is automagically synched into my laptop and lab computer , and I can have all my notes and all of my references on the go e. I can use DOI to automatically import a citation. I love Sente too. I just started with it a month or so ago but I love the search functions and the way it keeps records of where data was found along with webpages.
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Also, it was important to me to be able to use it on my ipad since that is what I tend to take to the library. Sente works really well on the ipad and uses the cloud to update so all my data is on my computer too. Also it works with Pages, which I quite like. As a matter of fact recently though I am having a nightmare of a time due to endnote x7 budging out for each library declaring library in multiple use liar , it got corrupted. I tried docear, zotero a lil but that I have not still settled down with any one.
Still single and looking ……. From zotero. I had also used and loved Endnote for years until it went all nasty on me a month before my Masters thesis was due. IT somehow also seemed to corrupt or maybe it was an evil co-incidence my Microsoft Word. I cried a lot! I had to delete my Office software and reinstall and then manually check and correct all the formatting problems in the document as well as the references — in-text and reference list. No-one I spoke to seemed to know what had happened or how to fix it but I did get lots of anecdotes about friends of friends that this had happened to.
I havened had the guts to use it since and manually reference while I play with other tools. Thanks for the list. I started out with Zotero — I like it, but had to abandon it because it was not as portable as I needed it to be. And as you pointed out, it could be a bit clumsy.
Thanks for sharing, Alexis, how Sente works great with Scrivener. I am going to look into this application soon after writing this note. Thank you for your story and alternatives.
Your own experiences of both loss and learning will help many on a similar study journey. I have Papers2 on my laptop mac and in the office computer windows , and despite a few problems, it works better than any other software. You can synchronise your papers among devices in the cloud using DropBox. Thanks for the recommend.
I have to say, after having tried most of the aforementioned reference managers I just keep going back to EndNote.
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