I never used a reference manager until I was in the 4th year of my undergraduate studies, and by then it was a bit too late to get rid of my old habits – almost.
Everyone who has ever been in university, regardless of subject, knows that referencing is one of the greatest nightmares that every academic experiences. Don’t get me wrong. Finding and exploring all your references is cool, but incorporating them in your work, is anything but. It’s time-consuming and tedious.
You put in 1 hour of work on an assignment, and you should expect to put an equal amount into citations, trying to sift through all the authors – and what citation style to use? APA? MLA? AMA? Acronyms get me out of here!
But does it always have to be that way? Actually no. With a citation manager, you can import journal articles, save it for later, easily cite your references in any format you wish, and then plug it directly into your references section. It’s that simple. You can even add annotations within your references so you can jot your memory about what the heck you used it for (which I have most trouble with because all the papers are so long).
Reference managers you can use can be integrated with your web browser and even with Microsoft Word, so you can work seamlessly online.
There are a couple of them out there, including Mendeley and Zotero. But please use it! It will save you lots of time and energy.
Here’s a video tutorial below on how to get started with Mendeley (the citation manager that I use). *Please note that I do not endorse any particular reference manager nor am I sponsored by Mendeley in any way – I just happen to use it. 🙂