Thing 14 is all about using software for managing your references.
Back when I were a wee young student, I used a hotch-potch of systems, including card indexes. Oh yes! However, as I moved with the times, and worked my way through Master degrees, and then a PhD, I also moved onto reference software. I used Endnote at Aberystwyth University and it did the job well. I recall having to tidy it up a bit manually once I’d imported the data because my version of the Harvard author/date style was subtly different from the inbuilt one, but it was loads easier than typing out hundreds of references.
Now I’m now longer a student I [thought I*]have no need for this software. Any research I do get to do (e.g. a Web 2 report – oh so dated title, a mere 2 years later!) or articles I write in my current job are not at the same level as a degree or further degree and therefore just bunging in the references manually into the Word document is perfectly adequate for my current needs. (That sounds slap dash, but it isn’t!)
However, I had a quick look at the three free tools suggested in Thing 14, which are Zotero, Mendeley, and CiteULike. If I were to need one in work I’m not sure that I could use the first two as they require software downloads onto the computer which I don’t think I’m allowed to do.
*Having read the Green Stone Librarian’s blog post on this I now realise where I’m missing out. I often come across reports I want to keep for work purposes. We’ve moved over to an electronic records management system and there isn’t really a suitable place for them as pdfs/other documents. It never occurred to me that I could use a sharing citation tool to create a list of the reports and make it accessible to colleagues. Lightbulb moment! A couple of years ago we were researching library things whilst planning the next library strategy for Wales and just used a Word document with different sections to create a bibliography.
But with this new knowledge, I could investigate one of these and then start using it to record useful reports etc. Amazing!
(NB Thing 13 to follow, one day.)