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Click Your Way to Bibliographical Glory

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Writing bibliographies is one of the most irritating, not to mention time-consuming, parts of writing papers. MLA? APA? Chicago? Turabian? Does the publisher come first, or the year? Is it a comma here, or a period? There’s just too much to do wrong.

Well, that’s exactly why you shouldn’t leave it to yourself. Leave it to the Web! There are two great resources out there that make writing your bibliography a piece of cake.

BibMe: I use BibMe every time I write a paper, and it’s a lifesaver. Use it to look up an author, title, publication, website, journal, movie, and just about anything you can think of. BibMe gets as much information out of you as you’ve got, and then puts it into  the “My Bibliography” section of the page you’re working on. You can change among four basic formats, as well as download your bibliography to Word or save it to your account. The site works great with no signup, but to save bibliographies (if you’re doing it as you go- a good idea) you’ll have to create a free account.

BLABLA

EasyBib: EasyBib is really useful if you’re citing a particular article, or introduction, or some small part of a film- it’s better for those stickler professors. It works much the same, asking you to fill in all the information you know: who wrote it? What’s it called? Is there a volume number? Once you give it the info, it finds what you’re looking for. It’s not as attractive as BibMe, but is more option-rich, letting you choose from a huge number of publications to site (a map? Who needs to cite a map?). It only works with APA and MLA formats, but will also let you export to Word and view the bibliographies online. To save your bibliographies is a free registration, but to do a number of other things, like citation help and footnotes, it’ll cost you $8/year.

Both of these are great tools, particularly combined with Amazon. The way I use these two sites is to go to Amazon, find my book (it’s better at figuring me out than either of the other two sites), and then enter the ISBN number into BibMe or EasyBib. You’re sure to get the right information this way, and it works just as well. For things other than books, this isn’t as helpful, but it’s great when it works.

Whenever you use a source, put it into one of these two sites. That way, there’s no risk of losing the information, or  losing your source. These two sites are both repositories for storing your information, and for making sure you don’t lose points for not citing “See Spot Run” correctly.

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5 Responses to “Click Your Way to Bibliographical Glory”

  1. Definitely some great time savers here. Thanks!

  2. FoxSteward says:

    zotero.org is my new favorite tool for reference/citation management

  3. cat says:

    It’s an interesting thing but a littlre bit difficult for me now

  4. Mark Bentley says:

    A definite thumbs up for zotero – providing you use / are willing to use firefox. The preview of zotero 1.5 is great – the library synchs between multiple PCs, and is available online. The same with stored PDFs.

    But the sync preview is not completely stable, so if you’re not an “early adopter” and willing to risk some stumbles along the way, stick with the release version!

  5. Lindsay says:

    Son of Citation Mashine is another good one