How using a reference manager can help you manage the references for your dissertation

Finding literature and gathering references from here, there and everywhere? Don’t want to get to a few days before hand in and realise you don’t have the full details of one (or more) important articles/books/etc., to cite properly? Find typing up your citations and bibliographies time consuming? Well, reference managers may be exactly what you are looking for.

Why do you need to use a reference manager?

When you are collecting information from a variety of sources, it can all overwhelm before you know it!  A reference manager can help you by providing a space to keep all your references in one place. You can both create references manually or import from external source such as database. You then have the option to annotate them and/or keep them in different folder.

It gets better!

When you are working on your dissertation, you can cite your reference in your work as you write. The reference manager will insert the references for you in your particular style, e.g. Harvard, MLA, Chicago, APA, etc., and create your bibliography at the same time.

There are a lot of different systems out there, so which one should you use? Well, Endnote X9 is provided by the University on all of its desktop PCs (and can now be downloaded for free onto your own computer). It’s fully supported in terms of training and support, as is its online version, EndNote Web (or EndNote Online as it’s sometimes referred to).

Our guide to Reference and Reference Management talks you through both referencing in general, some of the referencing tools available and where training/workshops are available. You could do worse than check out the How to use Endnote in 6 minutes video*!

*A version for Mac users is available as well. See our Reference and Reference Mangement guide.

Anne Donnelly was the Academic Support Librarian for Moray House School of Education and Sport and School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences until December 2019.

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