Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 19 May 2017

Imagine Your References Sorted and Cited - How Good Would That Feel?

"Please Use the Harvard Style ..."

What do you need for your essay?
  • Have you been recommended to use the Harvard style of referencing, with an in-text reference matched with a bibliography at the end?  Eg, "McGonnigal (2016) asserts that all pigs are capable of flying ..."
  • Or do you need footnotes with full details at the bottom of the page? 
  • Or endnotes at the end of the essay?  
 Visit our Portal for information about what Harvard referencing should look like.  Ask a librarian, or get in touch with our Effective Learning Support team.  Or take a look at Anglia Ruskin University's helpful website.

Referencing (bibliographic, citation) software

Using referencing (also called 'bibliographic' or 'citation') software makes sure all your references are consistent and have the right information, so that your teachers can follow what you've been reading and where you're quoting from.  The RCS generally asks for the Harvard style.

The Performing Arts Librarians often tell people about referencing software.  There are various free versions available (and others that you have to subscribe to).  Basically, they all have two main functions - collecting and sorting your references, and then formatting them to insert into your writing.

Now, you don't have to use referencing software.  It's helpful and effective, but it's perfectly possible to do your references without it. However, if you're completely turned off by having to quote references in the right order with appropriate punctuation and all the relevant details, then referencing software will definitely make things easier for you.  And if you embed referencing software into your Word programme, then you can choose whichever form output you like.  You might need different formats for different purposes - Harvard here, but some other referencing style for a journal article, for example.

Alternatively, you might like using this kind of software just for keeping track of what you've been reading.

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Find Quick Intros on YouTube!

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What are your options?

The four most frequently mentioned sites are Cite This for Me (formerly RefME), Endnote, Mendeley and Zotero.  We recommend Mendeley or Zotero - but you can learn more about each one here:-
  • Mendeley (free, very usable, excellent if you use different devices at different times and need to synch across them) - take a look at Get Started With Mendeley (5 minute YouTube). Follow up with Referencing in Microsoft Word with Mendeley Desktop, but this takes 15 minutes)
  • Zotero (great, but not quite as transferable across devices as Mendeley).  Here's a YouTube Tour of ZoteroIt's really good if you need to cite a wide variety of references.
  • Cite This For Me (formerly RefMe).  The free version only lets you keep your references for a week, which is a disadvantage!  However, if you're curious, then here's a 6-minute YouTube video on How to Use Cite This for Me, from Plymouth College of Art.
  • Endnote (okay if your institution subscribes, but unfortunately we don't. However, our doctoral students can access it at the University of St Andrews)  And you can get a free trial, so if you're curious, maybe watch this YouTube video - How to Use EndNote in 5 Minutes (Windows) or other videos on the Endnote training page.

* Don't worry, McGonnigal  (2016) is entirely fictional ...

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