In today’s Coffee Break TIP session we had an involved and interactive discussion, which focused on the use of support tools for referencing.
Susan McGlamery, Academic Support Librarian for the School of Law and Criminology, led the discussion by giving an overview of UWL’s reference management software, RefWorks, which is a detailed and comprehensive tool for inserting in-text citations (or footnotes) and building a reference list/bibliography. It is able to store entire journal articles and works as an efficient bank to store supporting literature when you are conducting research; particularly useful for dissertations.
As students grasp the basics of referencing, or when a smaller assignment is being conducted, the group moved on to discuss a more simplistic tool which may be of use, this is where the app RefME came in.
RefME is also a referencing management tool, however has a few additional features which may be of use to time-short students. With the ability to download as an app, RefME allows students to build their reference list on the go: through web searches; journal searches; and even barcode scanning. With a wealth of referencing styles to choose from, students can choose the most appropriate for their school, with UWL predominantly using Harvard (according to Cite Them Right), but in some schools also using APA and OSCOLA, all of which are available options on RefME.
After a quick hunt around for a book, the group soon began scanning bar codes using their phones and iPads to build their practice reference lists. Once created, the lists are then easily copied and pasted, emailed or exported to Evernote.
Assignments in RefME are set up as projects, and it was noted that students can clearly build multiple reference lists, as can collaborate with other users when conducting group work.
Whilst both tools provide great assistance in building and storing references, Susan McGlamery emphasised that they cannot be solely relied upon. Importance of understanding appropriate referencing styles and formatting was key to being able to utilise the referencing tools effectively.