The Internet helps create powerful information networks between computers and academic use of the Internet to create networks between universities and research centers dates back to 1974 with JANET. With the invention of the worldwideweb, Lee offered a pragmatic ‘information space’ where networking was enabled via sharing documented, linked and universally accessible information. Today, this information space- the ‘web’, deeply rooted in the academic sharing tradition initiated by Anglo-Saxon universities, has become a vast depository of all kinds of documents: academic, administrative, personal; displayed in various formats: text, image or audiovisual. Moreover, the Portable Document Format (Pdf), in use since 1995 has facilitated scientific scholarship’s visibility and accessibility on the web (more than 10% of documents, mostly academic, are shared online in the Pdf version).
However, the sprawling of information on the web requires filtering, aggregation and bookmarking, for its efficient reuse. For useful suggestions on different digital research tools check this wiki and post.
Among current popular reference database software available to researchers for organizing and managing citations are EndNote (commercial), Mendeley (Free) and RefWorks (commercial). A brief study of these three software, based on online reviews highlights the efficiency of a tool on the basis of following critera:
- grab online references
- provide web accessibility from any computer
- customizable organisation of sources, i.e. assigning tags, folders
- search option – internal browser for search by tag, inside text search
- syndicates from online databases and other library softwares and
- provide a backup.
Mendeley – the reusable Pdf
Mendeley – a desktop and cross platform application, 0.95 beta version, fulfills the critera of a free and reliable refrence database. Moreover it provides an efficient use of Pdf documents by allowing highlights and annotations to be added for personal note taking. Interestingly the annotated Pdf files can also be shared under the “export annotation” option.
Download here. Takes 16 Mo on Hard disk