Can you please explain the advantages of bibliography managers, spreadsheets, and so on to people who are good typists and know how to use calculators? While I was learning (x)html and so on, everyone seems to have started using programs like Excel and JabRef, and I do not yet understand why.

I understand what these programs are supposed to do for you but they seem to be an enormous amount of work to set up and maintain, and when people export things to you they are full of errors. Also, when a document has been worked on and worked on and is thus full of contradictory code (that you don’t see, but that is there), the program does not work well.

Am I the only one who feels this way and who just uses web pages and Libre Office documents? Will I regret it if I do not put my book manuscript into some kind of manager before it gets larger?


8 thoughts on “Question

  1. Well, if your book mss. is in Open Office, that gives me hope.

    What I’d truly like to learn is LaTeX / Lyx. And I’d like to get myself to really use Zotero consistently.

    Maybe I should make those my goals for now.

  2. I think bibliography managers are great, although they are more of an organizational tool for my sources rather than a manager for my paper. What they allow me to do is keep sources and PDFs in one place, particularly when I run across a bunch of sources I want to look at but don’t have time for at the moment. The advantage over just typing them into a word processor is storing the PDFs as well as speed since Zotero can capture far faster than I can type. I use spreadsheets for things like a list of participants, where I might want to sort by different attributes at different points using the sort function. I also use it for calculations, but typically when I am performing the same calculation over and over, like grades for a class or quantitative measures of language use for many participants. Setting up the spreadsheet for the first person takes longer than a calculator, but for the rest you can copy the formula, so it is quicker. If you are just adding a bunch of numbers once though, you don’t need a spreadsheet.

  3. OK so Zotero does it for you? All the cool kids here seem to be using JabRef and I am having trouble figuring out why.

  4. OK, this is very interesting. I guess I should set aside spreadsheet learning time.

    But is Zotero the only bibliography manager you use? If so then I’m in luck since I like it. Am not seeing the point of JabRef.

  5. I also use Bookends, but it’s Mac only–basically I think they all do the same thing more or less, so you just have to find one that you like. I like bookends, because I can view my source, notes, and pdf all at the same time, which I can’t do in Zotero. But all of those details are a matter of personal preference.

  6. No. I am starting to think I truly hate database and spreadsheet software, and all those hidden little notes you are supposed to have. And their windows are so hard to resize. I think it might be Open Office and blogging software as before, forever. I am really wondering if I’m missing something, but all of this seems so cumbersome.

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