One of the most tedious tasks of research is to manage bibliographic references for papers and such. In particular, it is extremely boring and discouraging to copy and paste references fields (authors, title, proceedings or journal, etc.) into your favourite reference manager, and to build a bibliography for a particular work (that is, to include references from your reference manager).
Two tools are very helpful for these tasks:
- CiteUlike is an online reference manager that allows to capture references from a number of digital libraries. For my particular work, I find it very useful because it effectively covers IEEE Xplore, ACM Digital Library and SpringerLink. CiteUlike allows to export your references in BibTex and RIS formats, both useful when importing to a local reference manager, or for including your references into a LaTeX formatted paper. It features the plus of promoting sharing and collaborating, which is very useful for preparing team papers.
- Zotero is a Firefox extension that also captures references from a bigger number of digital libraries and associations. Your references are stored locally, and they can be also exported (BibTex included), but much better, they can be included in MS Word and OpenOffice documents using two plugins/extensions as well. I have not tested this feature yet, but I plan to do it.
An interesting analysis is to test how effective are both when capturing references from the web. This will have to wait, although as in Xkcd, "it would make a great LiveJournal entry" :-)