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Mendeley the free reference manager.

Advantages • • • • •

Works for Mac, Linux and PC. Has a plugin for word. (untested) Mendeley is built on an entire social network where references can be shared and collaborated on. Supports Harvard referencing along with many others. Automatic citation finder – Tries to identify imported documents and fill in the details for you. Annotation functionality is amazing. There is a fielded for general notes and inline annotation is indexed at the side so that annotations can be easily accessed. I have found this especially useful by utilising code words to identify the intention of each annotation. The main 3 are: 1. QUOTE – useful quote to use. 2. NOTE – General useful info 3. ???? – Further research needed. A brilliant search function, which allows documents to be index, tagged, put into folders and key worded. Users can set up a watch folder on their system, which Mendeley will import any PDF that are saved to the folder. Mendeley will take any PDFs that are imported and orgainse them in its own folder structure for better organisation of files. Mendeley is a cloud service meaning that everything is backed up and accessible anywhere.

Disadvantages •

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The iPad app does not allow you to annotate but more importantly won’t let you view annotations that have already been placed in the document. The user interface for the iPad app is clunky and hard to navigate. No Android support. Bookmark-let for web browser is clunky and not very integrated. Mendeley does not automatically sync you need to remember to press the button.

The controversial wikipeda Maybe it does have some redeeming features

Advantages •

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Expansive amount of info (4,004,297 at the time of reading). Quote from the site – “The largest encyclopaedia in the world”. Well Categorised Mostly current and up to date Further reading list on most entries. These can be an invaluable source of inspiration. The “see also” section opens up information around the selected subject that the reader might not already be aware of. The ‘view history’ allows for transparent evolution of the information so the user can decide how much to trust the current article. Allow export as pdf which would work in harmony with Mendeley. Transparency in terms of contributors. There is a ‘find more about’ section which guides the user to other similar services as Wikipedia. (sister projects) Potential for positive procrastination. An element of serendipity and exploration. Featured contents to make exploration interesting. A very good manifesto – The five pillars. 1. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia. 2. Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view. 3. Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify and distribute. 4. Editors should interact with each other in a respectful and civil manner. 5. Wikipedia does not have firm rules.

Disadvantages Unreliable sources not to be trusted always double check the source. Despite this fact I do honestly believe that Wikipedia is an amazing resource for beginning research and scoping subject matter. So this is the only disadvantage I will give it.

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The advantages and disadvantages of two research tools.

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