Frankly, there are too many reference managers today. This is counterproductive because we all need to spend time checking the newcomers, just in case there’s a new feature that we were missing.
Most reference managers graft themselves to word or to openOffice. For example, Mendeley, and zotero both use internal reference functionality in word. In doing so, they use features that are available only on those editors. I think this is a big error for at least 3 reasons:
- I draft my papers on a text editor or oneNote. This has a lot of advantages for me. But I would not be able to use say Mendeley or Zotero on oneNote; and I do want to keep references on my notetaking tool. Using a text editor has a lot of nice advantages over a word processor too, if you know how to use it.
- It’s a lot faster to massage your reference the way you like it. It takes several clicks on zotero to get an Author (year, p. XX) reference. In endNote, it’d be a few keystrokes.
- There are bottlenecks in our digital lives that are plain text. For example, emails, forum posts, and google docs are cases of writing that may need reference management but are ill-served by most current offerings. I want to copy-paste chunks of scientific writing and still carry my references; there’s life outside word processors, and quite a lot of it!
So what reference managers work ok on plain text. Well, here is the surprise: as far as I know, only bibTeX and endnote. This is surprising because they are the oldest. One would have thought that newcomers would have taken advantage of what these older tools learned.
Lurking in the Zotero forums, I saw people asking for support of this exact feature. But it seems that it’s never going to happen. It would take a lot of reengineering, and all users that are happy with the current solution (and have amassed a large body of authored docs) would complain.
so, where does this leave me? I need to either comply and write everything in word to take advantage of Mendeley and Zotero, or stick to oneNote, but use endNote references. Of course I could also do everything on a text editor and use bibTeX, but right now, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Does anyone know a good solution for my setting?