I don’t know how I survived undergraduate assignments before there were online tools - especially when it came to that bibliography at the end of a term paper! Just when I’d finished the concluding paragraph and checked for typos, I’d realize – argh! – my list of references had to follow a style that my instructor specified, like MLA, APA, or Chicago style sheets. The styles are very particular about how you present the authors’ names, or show the difference between an article title and the journal title, like these 2 samples show:
Davies, Emma, and Stephen E. G. Lea. "Student Attitudes to Student Debt." Journal of
Economic Psychology 16.4 (1995): 663. – MLA Style, 7th. edition
Davies, E., & Lea, S. E. G. (1995). Student attitudes to student debt. Journal of Economic
Psychology, 16(4), 663. – APA Style, 6th. edition
Today I don’t have to do this completely manually, since a lot of the databases where I find articles or books already have a little tool named something like “cite” or “cite it” that formats a reference I select into one of those styles. (Beware of easy fixes, though. Without double-checking these formatted citations against samples from official style guides, you can cut and paste one with a slight error into your paper, like the one below. Can you find the typo?)
O'Loughlin, Deirdre, and Isabelle Szmigin. ""I'Ll always be in Debt": Irish and UK Student
Behaviour in a Credit Led Environment." The Journal of Consumer Marketing 23.6
But why cut and paste individual references like this if I could collect them as I go, then generate a whole bibliography with my paper, including footnotes or in-text references inside? RefWorks is a tool that does just that, letting me store, reformat, and re-use references in many different papers or projects. RefWorks is free for K-State faculty, staff, and students to use because K-State Libraries subscribes to a university-wide license. You can keep your RefWorks account with all of your references after graduation, by which time you might have several hundred or thousand references you may not want to lose as you start graduate school or a career.
RefWorks lets you collect references from the library’s catalog and many, if not most, of its databases into your account. It’s amazing how many of the databases have listed RefWorks as one of the major targets for exporting. You can attach full text files to references in your account, or just use the K-State [Get It] button to retrieve them on the fly, which is especially useful if you’ve lost track of your printed copy. Best of all, thanks to an add-on called “Write ‘n Cite” in Microsoft Word, you can be writing your paper and inserting the in-text references in your selected format as you go, finally generating the bibliography at the end with one click.
Look for tutorials on how to set up your free RefWorks account and begin using these time-saving features by going to the Library Guide, Citations and Bibliographies. One particularly good way to get in-person assistance with RefWorks is to stop by Hale Library Help on Sunday afternoons between 1pm and 5pm. If that time stretch does not work for you, don’t worry: you can come at any of the Librarians’ hours listed on Hale Library’s calendar. You can also get help by phone, by e-mail, by text, by IM or by setting up an appointment. For any of those options, see our Ask a Librarian page.