Wetherbee-Kalloch Webware


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This Memorandum was created in 2010 by Simmons College (Boston, MA) MLIS candiates Sarah Wetherbee and Taylor Kalloch, and features a comparison chart of selected reference management software options for potential use in the Simmons College library.

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Wetherbee-Kalloch Webware

  1. 1. Simmons College Library MemorandumDate: November 15, 2010To: Director of Simmons College LibraryFrom: Taylor Kalloch and Sarah WetherbeeSubject: Evaluation of Potential Reference Management Software The Library of Simmons College is responsible for severing over 5,500 patrons, includingundergraduate and graduate students, full and part time faculty, college staff members, and guests fromthe Fenway Library Consortium. In order to keep up with both the needs of its patrons and the dynamicworld of technology, Simmons College Library must regularly reevaluate available options for theservices which it offers. For any serious researcher, and especially a collection of them—including those found in andaround an academic institution—good reference management software is essential. Not only doesreference management software facilitate organization and consistent reference formatting, but it canalso help members of an institution fight plagiarism and promote academic honesty and researchintegrity. Reference management software programs with web and integration capabilities can helpcatalyze cooperative research and further education in a particular field or across many disciplines. Currently, Simmons College purchases the reference manager RefWorks, which is a web-based,platform-independent reference manager and citation engine. The Graduate School of Library andInformation Science at Simmons College is currently experimenting with Zotero as well. The purposeof this memo is to compare Simmons College’s current reference management software with other top-level options, with the purpose of adding additional features and/or saving the college money. Thismemo will compare RefWorks, Mendeley, Zotero, and Aigaion based on criteria that are the majorpoints to be considered in a potential change from RefWorks. There are a large number of reference management programs currently available to institutionsand individual researchers. Of the many options available, each has positive and negative aspects. Inselecting the reference management software that would best suit Simmons College Library, the specificneeds of the library as well as the patrons should be investigated and weighed. The main points ofconsideration include:  Cost  Storage capabilities  Usability—with users ranging from undergraduates to faculty and staff, there is likely to be a wide range of abilities and familiarities with technology in general, and with reference management in particular.  Program availability—are patrons able to access their reference libraries both on their personal computers as well as on campus?  Stability of the program—with the potential of over 5,000 Simmons users, continual program availability and support is essential.  Migration options—patrons are currently using RefWorks; if Simmons switches programs, will users’ bibliographic information migrate from RefWorks?
  2. 2. In the following chart, the two programs with a presence at Simmons College are compared with two other potential options:  RefWorks (Currently used by Simmons College Library)  Zotero (Currently being tested by Simmons GSLIS)  Mendeley  Aigaion Each of the options is compared in the following categories: Price/Cost, Usability, Compatibility (browsers and operating systems), Metadata Extraction & Search Capabilities, Output Options (style sheets & formatting), Import & Migration Options, Tech Support & Help, Longevity/Stability. RefWorks Mendeley Zotero AigaionPrice/Cost $100/year for personal Free for 1 GB space; Free up to 100MB of storage; Free; donations are subscription. Institutional additional cost for upgrades available. accepted. subscription depends on size of upgrades. Full Institution Storage Plans: No apparent institution; costs several - - $3,000/year for up to 3,000 users storage limitations. thousands of dollars for and a total of 900GB storage Simmons. - - $6,000/year for up to 10,000 users and a total of 3TB of storage (available 20% discount to individual users purchasing up to 25GB extra).Usability Unlimited reference space. Reference organization Intuitive, “iTunes-like” interface. User-created topic References can be grouped. options: grouping tagging, Ability to drag and drop items into trees; designed for Can link to PDF files on web filtering. Automatically collections and apply tags. Ability to annotated and desktop. Multi-language cross-check citations easily take notes alongside items. bibliographies. interface available. Auto- against external databases. Icons allow users to distinguish Interface less checks for duplicate citations. Can install client on between different source types. modern and user Interface relatively simple. multiple computers. Full Customizable interface. Icon pops friendly Program overall easy to use. text searching of papers. up in address bar when bibliographic Store web snapshots. information has been detected. Can Interface very simple. backup library on outside devices. Program easy to use. 2.0 allows synching and use of the same library and files in any location.Compatibility Is web-based and platform- Requires client download. Currently works only with FireFox. Web based.with browsers independent. (compatible with Client synchs with online Coming soon: standalone desktop Installed on weband operating Windows, MAC, Unix, web, account. Full support for version that will work with Chrome, server with PHP orsystems. blackberry, iPhone, etc.). Windows, Mac, and Linux; IE, Safari. Compatible with MySQL. Platform Integrates with Blackboard. not Unix. Claims to Windows, Mac, Linux. independent. RefMobile web-based from support other OSs on mobile devices. request. Web importer works in any browser, on any platform.Metadata Compatible with many Automatically extract Within Zotero, basic and advanced Claims to haveExtraction & databases such as Orbis, metadata from papers search feature available. Can search simple andSearch JSTOR, PubMed. Not imported by user. Drag PDFs stored in user’s library. Looks advanced searchCapabilities compatible with ArXiv, and drop capabilities for for PDFs in Google Scholar to capabilities. CiteSeer, IEE Explore. Does PDFs on desktop client to extract metadata. not allow advanced search start extraction. options on local data. Web Compatible with most citations with add-on major databases. RefGrabit.
  3. 3. Output Over 800 pre-defined citation Over 1000 citation styles Comes with 18 common citation Not a formattingOptions (style styles, including all major; available, including APA, styles. Option for customization. engine. Exportssheets & option for customization. ACM, Chicago, MLA, Ability to drag and drop bibliography to: .txt, html, rif.formatting) Exports to: RTF, MS Word, Harvard, AMA, ACS, etc. into paper, emails and blog posts. Citation styles: Text, HTML, XML, Open Exports to: MS Word, Word processor integration allows APA, Chicago, Office (with Write-N-Cite plug- Open Office, RTF, Text, for bibliography, Cite-N-Write. Harvard, IEEE. in). LaTex, HTML, XML. Plug-ins available for MS Word and No plans for cut OpenOffice / NeoOffice. and paste into word processor. Cite-N-Write in future?Import & Imports BibTex, Copac, CSA, Imports BibTex, BiblX, Import from other bib file formats, Imports Bib Tex,Migration EndNote, Refer, BiblX, Endnote, Refer, and RIS. Zotero PDF, MODS, Bib Tex, RIS, RIS.Options Medline, Ovid, PubMed, RIS, Refer, BiblX, Unqualified Dublin Scifinder, and others. core RDF. Can add citations manually. Automatic capture from web.Tech Support Reference guides and manuals, Automatic secure Help page lists common problem and Help page. No& Help with online help. Offline backup—client synchs solutions. Forum available. Tech support tutorials. Webinars available at with web. Online support: “Support” tab links to various available. all levels. Immediate email and tutorial, FAQs, feedback instructions for different features. telephone support. Web-based forum. Contact is a web- Screencast tutorials. Tech support and on-site training available. form. Company based in contact. London.Longevity/ First released in 2001; shows First released in August, First released 2006. 10/13/10 last First releasedStability good product stability. 2008. Product is still in stable release. Funded by Mellon 2005. 2.1.2 Beta. Foundation, Institute of Museum and released 3/12/09 Library Services and Alfred P. Sloan (last stable Foundation. Run by the Center for release). History and New Media; George Mason University.Other Add-on RefShare allows online Community and Social Open source. Version 2.1 in beta. Shared annotated collaborative content within Networking features Social networking component. bibliography community groups and open organized research groups Provides option to share group manager. Not as posting to Web. Subscribing and opportunity for open libraries and publish dynamic multimedia institution makes posting and sharing. Available real- bibliographies. source-friendly. access page for research. Add- time trends and statistics Designed for on RefAware uses RSS to for research field. RSS individual users. notify users of new articles feed subscriptions to related to research interests, relevant collections from over 9000 journals and updates. academic sources. Review of Pros and Cons RefWorks Mendeley Zotero AigaionPros Stable, reliable program with Basic program free. Free for 100MB of space. Free. Web-based. strong tech support. Strong Excellent social networking High usability. Strong Platform independent- compatibility and excellent and sharing capabilities. stability shown. Open versatile availability. range of citation formatting Excellent range of output and source. Social networking Shows product options. Easy to use. migration options. Easy capabilities. Strong tech stability. Platform independent and extraction. Easy to use. support. Good integration therefore versatile. Unlimited and export options. storage.Cons High cost to institution. Add- Product still in Beta; not Free space limited. Designed for individual ons required for full time-tested. Client download Moderate cost for users. Less capabilities. Other programs required. Cost for additional additional space. Web- multimedia- friendly. have more academic social storage space. based program currently Complex interface. No networking capabilities. works only in Firefox tech support available. browser.
  4. 4. Conclusions and Recommendations: While each of the four products evaluated above merits consideration by the Simmons College community; which is ultimately best suited to the needs to the Simmons College Library community? Initially, Aigaion was selected for evaluated based upon its “topic tree” organizational scheme. The final word concerning Aigaion, however, is that the extreme simplicity which the program offers would be inadequate in meeting the varying needs of the Simmons College Library users. Of the three remaining options, RefWorks has established itself as a reliable, valuable tool: versatile enough to serve the needs of the undergraduate student body, the graduate student body, the faculty, and the staff and administration of the school, as well as potential Colleges of the Fenway Consortium users. It is web-based, allowing users to access their stored individual libraries from multiple computers without having to download program files. Yet, in the near-decade since RefWorks was first established, several reference management software options have emerged, with capabilities and cost efficiency benefits not traditionally bundled in the RefWorks package. Both Zotero and Mendeley offer solid alternatives to Refworks. Each possesses features that challenge the supremacy of RefWorks in terms of meeting the needs of Simmons College Library. They offer a range of price options which correspond with a gradation of storage and user capacities, meaning Simmons College Library could pay only for what it needs, which is ultimately more cost effective. Furthermore, both Zotero and Mendeley provide reference management services that have a modern feel, are user friendly, and possess flexibility in regards to where users would be able to access the program. Each also offers what Refworks does not, a modern social networking component. The question then becomes, do the positive aspects of either Zotero or Mendeley outweigh risks, money, and effort of replacing RefWorks which is currently stable and ingrained within the community? At this time it is recommended that Simmons College Library continue to purchase and use RefWorks. This decision is based upon the fact that Zotero is, for the time being, only available for use with FireFox (compromising its usability); while Mendeley is still in beta, and therefore, lacking the degree of stability need to make a switch worthwhile. Yet, Zotero and Mendeley both have strong potential, including features which would cut down on the hassle of a potential migration away from RefWorks. Therefore, it is also recommended that Simmons continues to monitor both Zotero and Mendeley as they develop. By remaining with Refworks while monitoring the development of Zotero and Mendeley, Simmons College Library will continue to offer its patrons a reliable reference manager while simultaneously looking to the future.