Online literature management makes it easier for you to work on larger literature projects. You can prevent errors in literature lists, have your sources at hand at a glance and can organise them by topic. If you have to comply with citation requirements, the literature software helps you to implement them. In the following, you will find tips on how to work successfully with a literature management programme.
Why is online literature management useful?
With online literature management you can
- Ensure consistency of citation.
- Simply make directory changes at a later date.
- Maintaining an overview of extensive projects.
- Prevent error-proneness in long literature lists.
- Automatically capture research literature.
- Create order in outline, categories and keywords.
- Conduct research for additional or similar sources.
- Automatically back up data to the cloud or a server.
The literature database of a literature management system enables more meaningful data management and recording than would be possible manually.
Where is digital literature management used?
Digital literature management is used in all areas where precise work is required. This is necessary in science, for example, in order to successfully substantiate statements and sources. In higher education, there are also university requirements. In your private life, you can use a literature management system to keep track of the literature you have read and easily find information again.
3 Literature management programmes in comparison
Now take a look at three literature management programmes in comparison. These literature programmes are available:
Citavi - a well-known literature programme
Citavi is a well-known programme, especially in the university scene. It is available in German, is clearly laid out, is suitable for group work and is characterised by good support. It can only be installed on Windows. For data storage, you can choose between storage in the cloud or on your own server.
The first 30 days with Citavi are free. After that you have to pay. Choose between the web or desktop version or a data-secure server installation for companies. The price depends on whether you belong to students, academia, public authorities and NGOs or another company. For example, the cheapest web version for students with one gigabyte of memory is €75 per year. A company pays about 435 € for the Windows version for two years and five gigabytes of memory. Additional packages are available.
Mendeley - a free alternative to online literature management
An alternative to Citavi is the literature software Mendeley. Although it is only available in English, it is free of charge for one gigabyte of memory. It is also available in a web version as well as for the desktop under macOS, Windows and Linux. Another bonus: There is an app for iOS devices.
With Mendeley, you also have the option of importing data directly from sites such as SpringerLink. A premium version exists to get additional support, features and better data encryption. The price is available to users on request.
SeaTable - the intelligent list solution for literature management
SeaTable is a programme with which literature management can be depicted with simple means. Literature management works similarly to Excel in lists. The difference is that you can link them to tasks and enrich them with further data, graphics and documents.
Online team collaboration is possible and the programme is available in German. There is a cloud version, a dedicated version and a version for your own server. If you simply want to use SeaTable online, it is free of charge. The Plus version costs €7 per user per month, the Enterprise version costs €14 per user per month.
11 tips for the correct use of a literature management programme
Read the following eleven tips for the correct use of your literature management programme.
1. caution with source import
When importing data from other programmes, do not rely on the title information in the literature software being correct later. For example, there may already be a spelling error or the format may not match the one you want. Create a task in your to-do list to check the title information later.
2 Not every source is suitable for import into a literature management software.
Also note that not every source is suitable for import into the reference management programme. If a document does not have a unique ID, the reference management programme cannot import the title data. In that case, many programmes fall back on the metadata. In a document such as a PDF, however, authors often do not add any. It is similar with web pages. You have to add missing information manually later.
3. care with the title input
A literature management programme is only as good as its user - i.e. you. Therefore, make sure to enter title data correctly. This way, your programme can later create the formatted references and bibliographies without errors, because it knows exactly where the information belongs.
4. no abbreviations in the title data
In addition, you should avoid abbreviations in the title data. For example, an "ed." in combination with the name of the editor or a "S." for page is not necessary. You choose a template for the citation style in the literature programme or create your own. According to the specifications, abbreviations appear later or not.
5. use recommendation services and search alerts of your literature management programme.
The online literature management programmes are not only used to create bibliographies. In addition to collecting sources, you can also conduct research. With Citavi, for example, you have the option of receiving search alerts. This tells you when new articles are available online on one of your topics. Mendeley offers a recommendation service that allows you to display similar articles.
6. attention when using document plug-ins
If you use a Word plug-in, for example, you should keep the automatic updates in mind. If you change a text in a content control in the Word document, it will later be overwritten again by the literature management. Your change is lost without you noticing it.
7. create an outline for your literature management
Sort your literature management and create a hierarchical structure and categories. This way you can keep an overview even in larger projects and quickly find what you are looking for. One example is sorting sources by topic.
8. how does a source belong to your project?
Also create notes for each source. This way you will know later how the source fits into your project and why it is important.
9. do you have to follow style guidelines?
Before choosing a citation style in the literature management software, you should check whether you are subject to legal requirements or have to meet other specifications. Once this has been clarified, select the right style in the literature software or create the appropriate template.
Automate as much as possible with the help of the literature management tool.
If your literature management programme allows it, you should work with fields instead of making individual adjustments. If you switch to another programme, compliant data management will make importing easier.
11. check the result
Do not rely completely on the programme for your bibliography. Before submitting the bibliography, you should cross-check it. Check whether the style guidelines are fulfilled and the references are set correctly.
Literature management programmes are important tools that can be used in professional and private life as well as in studies to stay organised. They are counterproductive if the basic knowledge for proper use is missing.
Therefore, familiarise yourself with the programme or rely on an alternative list solution such as SeaTable.
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