Regular readers of my blog will know that Zotero is favourite referencing tool, and it’s the one I always recommend to researchers. Occasionally, however, I teach undergraduate students, and their needs are rather different. While Zotero is perfect for large academic projects, such as a dissertation, thesis, or monograph, it’s not really necessary for an essay that might contain only a dozen references. My experience of marking student essays indicates that many, nevertheless, struggle with getting their citation formats right, losing themselves valuable marks in the process. I was very pleased to discover RefMe, a free referencing generator that’s available as a phone app and a web-based tool. It’s aimed at undergraduates, but certainly would be useful for anyone else who needs to manage only a simple list of references.
To add a reference, you just choose the type, then search for it in the box that pops up.
Here I’ve added a book on Victorian poetry. I can also include the quotes I want to use, along with the page numbers, and my own notes.
I can then display the reference in a format for copying and pasting into my essay.
There’s also a browser extension for saving references to webpages, and a barcode scanner for adding books with your phone.
Once you’ve collected your references and quotes, you can export the whole lot as a Word document. This effectively gives you an outline for your essay.
If you do find you need a more sophisticated reference manager, you can easily export everything to Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, or BibTex. And Evernote users can send RefMe content to a new note, so you can keep all your research material together.
RefMe is wonderfully versatile and easy to use. I do hope it proves popular.