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Citing & Referencing: Handy tools

This guide covers the basics of citing & referencing, includes a collection of links to different styles, and discusses plagiarism, what it is, and how to avoid it.

Using citing and referencing tools effectively

Citing and referencing used to be a painstaking process done by hand. These days, there is a wealth of tools that can be useful at the different stages of your academic career and in your research. Don't expect the technology to do everything for you though -- some tools are better than others, and when it comes to in-text citations, reference lists and bibliographies, best practice is to edit for mistakes and inaccuracies. 

System-based tools

There are some simple, cut-and-paste citation tools in many of your favourite research tools. The NUI Galway Library catalogue, Google Scholar and a number of databases like Scopus all incorporate ways to generate citations of material that you can cut and paste into a bibliography.

In the library catalogue, in each individual record, look for the following symbol: 

Similarly, if using Google Scholar, watch out for this symbol at the bottom of any individual search result: 

In the Scopus database, you can create a bibliography out of a number of items. Select the items you want to include, click the three dot icon, then click 'create bibliography' to create a bibliography in a number of major styles that can then be cut and pasted into a bibliography.

Using these types of tools can be especially handy as they can easily take place in the context of research tools that you are already using, rather than having to switch to a standalone tool.

Standalone tools

There are a number of free tools on the web that can be use to help with citing and referencing. These might often better be termed  'freemium' -- often a free tool will ask you repeatedly to purchase a premium version of a tool with otherwise basic functionality.

One example of these is Cite This For Me. Using Cite This For Me, you can search for a source that you are using, then use the prompts to generate in-text citations and citation entries, and even build up a full bibliography.

Beyond being asked to subscribe to premium versions, many of these sites work while flashing a lot of annoying advertisements.

An exception is the open source zbib.org, which is well worth a try.

Reference Management Software

One of the key challenges of managing your references, is keeping track of them all in an orderly way. Thankfully, there are software tools available to assist with collating and managing references effectively. Many of these products will also help to format your references as you are writing.

Click on the appropriate tab to find out more about the software that is of interest to you.

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