Apr 29, 2007

The EndNote post

For the past few days I've been installing EndNote, the bibliographic referencing software, on every computer I've been able to, and it seems to be proving useful to everybody. So I thought I'd share some more info about it that I've found out.

So first off, what is EndNote? It's a program that stores all the information about the references you use in your articles, and inserts them into Word documents as and when you want them. Oh, and it automatically creates and updates the list of references at the end of the document in the proper style (Harvard style in our case). This is very useful for us because we're always writing up assignments with a certain number of references required (say, at least ten) and we're always getting the references wrong -- or not quite right -- somewhere or the other. And obviously references are very important to us because Monash is starting to use Turn-It-In and is asking everyone to submit assignments electronically as well as on paper.

So yeah, I highly recommend EndNote to save a lot of time and effort. Monash makes it very easy for us to get up and running with it: go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/endnote/ for a summary page that contains all the EndNote links. After installing the program (Microsoft Word must be closed for the install to run), the program link should be in the Start menu (All Programs, EndNote, EndNote Program). Create a library file (File, New...) which will hold your references. You can of course have more than one library file, say one for each subject, but you can start out with just one.

Automatic bibliographic information

Once you're in the new library file, you can start creating some references (References, New Reference) to articles and books you've found. More importantly, you can now connect directly to Monash's online libraries to search for articles. When you find articles like this, you can just import the references into your library file and the information will automatically be properly formatted when you make EndNote insert it into Word. This is a simply awesome feature, not having to manually type in all the referencing info.

EndNote uses what it calls `connection files' to find out how to connect to each separate online database. The connection files relevant to the Monash databases are at http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/endnote/filter-connection-files.html. The most important connection files for us (business students) are `Business source premier', `Expanded academic ASAP (GALE)', `Econlit (EBSCOHost)', and `Monash University Library Catalogue'. In fact these are probably the only ones we need, and once we put the files into the C:\Program Files\EndNote 9\Connections folder, we can actually just delete all the other connection files in there.

Once you have the connection files set up, here is how to use them: tell EndNote to show you only the connections you want (Edit, Connection Files, Open Connection Manager..., then find and mark only the above connections). Then connect to, say, Business Source Premier (Tools, Connect, monash_business_source_premier_ebscohost). The search window should open up. Do a search, e.g. for anything authored by Mankiw. EndNote does the search, asks you how many results to show, then shows them. To see the detailed info about each search result, double-click it. You'll usually want to see the detailed info because the abstract will tell you if the article is relevant or not. To use the reference, copy it to your library file (the Copy ... Reference(s) To) button.

One issue with this feature: the first author is listed twice. Once the reference is copied into your library, open it (double-click) and delete the duplicate author name. Still less work than typing it all in.

Now the main part: putting the reference into your document. There are a couple of ways to do this, I'm just mentioning here the simplest. In Word, put the text insertion point where you want to insert the citation. Then in EndNote, move to the citation you want to insert, then click Tools, Cite While You Write [CWYW], Insert Selected Citation(s), or press Alt+2. And there you go, the citation is put into the document, and at the same time, the list of references is created or updated at the bottom of the document.

Another problem: it's not in the proper Harvard style. The closest style that EndNote has to the Monash Q Manual Harvard style is called `APA 5th', which you can find in the Style Manager (Edit, Output Styles, Open Style Manager...). Once the style is selected, make it the default style (Edit, Output Styles or the style drop-down box in the main toolbar). You can also customise the style to bring it closer to the Q Manual, but I've got a heavily customised style I can send out to anyone who wants it. Just put the style file into the C:\Program Files\EndNote 9\Styles folder and EndNote will see it.

Another issue: you want to include a page number in the citation, or you want to leave the author name outside brackets, like so: Mankiw (2005) says that.... You can do this in Word. Put the text insertion point inside the citation, then click Tools, EndNote X, Edit Citations.... Or click the button in the EndNote toolbar. Then select the Exclude author option. Or fill in the page number.

And that's all for now folks.

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