In Praise of Refworks
Do you have a favorite program that you use to manage your references? Before coming to grad school I never thought twice about this. Truthfully, I didn't think twice about it for my first two quarters. I didn't have too many papers to write-and the ones that I did write were on varied topics.
Now that I am finishing my third quarter, I have become an unabashed believer in the absolute need for some system--any system really--to keep track of your references.
For me that answer has been RefWorks. I will admit, my initial motivation to use it was that it is free from NPS students (and alumni I might add--if you were a student here, you can contact alumni affairs and they can make sure you are set up to maintain your use of library research capabilities). But I researched EndNotes as well, and while I see its merits, ultimately the cloud capability of RefWorks is what sold me (although I understand that EndNote X6--the latest version--has incorporated a cloud capability too).
The feature in RefWorks that will provide me with the most long term utility though are the USER FIELDS for each reference that you add to your library. I paste my notes for each reference into this field. This gives me the ability to find an essay or article that I read from years ago through a keyword search in the program. I often will remember that I read about an idea somewhere but won't be able to recall the exact article--that problem no longer exists.
As I plan on writing for the rest of my life (to include books one day), the benefits of this RefWorks will continue to grow as my research does.
What Reference Management System do you use and why?
Writing Tips from Previous Blog Posts:
How to Write an A+ Paper
My Personal Editing Checklist
101 Writing Tips from Famous Authors