Bibliographic management software is an application designed to store, organize, manage, and format your citations into the appropriate citation style. In some cases, the software may search and download records automatically from a database and even insert the citation into your document for you.
Citation styles are very strict, rigid sets of rules that govern how your citations must look. There are hundreds of citation styles in existence. While styles vary, each one states where the citations should be placed in a paper, what citation features should be italicized or bolded, and how each piece of publication information should look. Computers do very well at formatting citation styles because computers are very good at following rules. What computers are not good at are exceptions to those rules. Computers are stupid. They do not know that NASA should be capitalized or that "Queen" is not the first name of Queen Elizabeth.
Students must still learn the rules of citation styles so that they can recognize errors and exceptions in bibiographic management software and can tell the computer to make an exception.
There are a variety of biblographic management tools available. Some are located free on the Web. These tend to be simple and offer only the most common citation styles and publication types. Bibliographic management software available for purchase offers more functionality but can be more difficult to learn to use.
Please contact the ISU Library to request a workshop.
Verify the accuracy of the citations produced by these applications. You are still responsible if mistakes are made.