Monday, July 23, 2007

Personal Bibliographic Management Software

I regularly get requests for recommendations from students who are interested in a Personal Bibliographic Management (PBM) program to help them format notes and bibliography pages in Turabian format.

I admit that I sometimes have trouble seeing the attraction of these products. I find many of the full-featured versions rather complex to use, much more complex than simply learning the rules for the style in the first place. I am enough of a geek, though, to appreciate the joy of inputting a lot of tedious data and then letting the computer miraculously format it according to style. And if you are working on a large project like a dissertation, you can benefit from the note-taking and organizing aspects of most full-featured PBMs.

Beware, however: PBM software is no substitute for knowing the appropriate style guide. If you do not know the citation style, you will not be able to evaluate how well the software is performing. A PBM is only as good as its programming, and like most things, you generally get what you pay for.

All that being said, I have put together a web page with a list of available PBM programs. I have included a list of four recommended free programs that will be adequate for the average student term paper. If fussing with a PBM is more fun for you than fussing with a bibliography page, you may enjoy experimenting with some of these programs. Bon Bibliographie!

1 comment:

Heather said...

Thanks for putting this together and sharing it.