6.5 Referenzmanager (DE) / 6.5 Reference Manager (EN)

Now that we know that there are electronic index cards, so to speak, in which the metadata of citable sources are stored, the question arises as to how best to make them usable for one’s own scientific work. The answer is clear: this is best done with a literature management program, also known as a reference manager. The software helps us to keep track of the literature reviewed for the upcoming work and to manage and keep our own literature holdings up to date. Above all, however, it helps to generate error-free and consistent source information. Characteristic for reference management programs are the contained databases, in which the metadata of sources are stored: Author, publisher, title of the work or contribution, publication date, edition, page area, URL, publisher name and place of publication, to name but a few of the most important dates. Such programs can usually take over this data directly: by import functions, even directly from the usual web browsers. For example, if you have a book on the table, you don’t have to manually search and type in the metadata from the information it contains, but import it from the respective Amazon, Bibsonomy, WorldCat or other websites. The original texts themselves are not stored, because they are those monographs, compilations, journal articles, websites and other documents that we encounter during our research and from whose contents we need arguments and information for our own investigation. A reference management program can output the source data used in the assignment as a source list in the common citation styles, i.e. DIN 1505-2, MLA, APA and Harvard. Universities and publishers always specify the style of citation with which the source lists of the studies to be submitted must be formatted. Working with a literature management program is therefore a good help: For example, if you want to prepare a work submitted at university that still had to be created with footnote references and have it published at a publisher, a mouse click is sometimes enough to switch from footnotes to in-text references – provided that you had already created the original footnotes using the literature management program rather than by hand. Such reference management programs as Zotero, Citavi or EndNote work together with word processing programs. They ensure that for each citation in the text of the work there is an associated and correct bibliographical information in the list of sources. They also ensure that removed source references lead to a corresponding cleanup of the source directory when revising the text. Web-based reference management programs also offer the possibility of collaborative cataloging. It is possible to create mutual releases of databases for project or research groups. In this way, participants can achieve consistent source references in their joint research documentation. One such web-based literature management program is Zotero. It is offered free of charge, for all current operating systems and browsers. With its help all references and the list of sources of the accompanying book to this course were also created.

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