Research Tool Tip

I use EndNote for recording references and bibliographic details, and type my research notes into the Endnote research note field for that reference (I also add a pdf of journal articles etc in the figures field). This way I can save a research note with a page or pinpoint reference, and the research note is always attached to that reference. An added bonus is that the entire database can be backed up regularly to avoid future heartache.

But there’s more, I am using Scrivener to write ‘scraps’ and chapters; these can be sorted a bit like index cards and then eventually exported to Word as a final document.
In Scrivener, there is a research folder to which you can drag documents for ease of reference when working on your scraps/chapters.

Experimenting with Endnote this morning, I find I can easily export a single reference with its bibliographic details and all of the content of the research notes field to a text or RTF document. This document can then be dragged to the research folder in Scrivener, so you can easily switch between the research note and the scrap on which you are working.

The method: In Endnote, finish working on the reference and close the reference. Select the reference in the list of references in the main window. Go to File > Export > Type in a unique name for the export file > Select the location to save the file (I use Desktop) > Save as Text Only or RTF > in Output Style, select ‘Show All Fields’ > make sure the ‘Export Selected References’ checkbox is checked > Click ‘Save’. A text document or RTF document will save to your desktop.

I am also using Evernote to save internet pages and info – those items can be sorted and filed in Evernote, and then exported from Evernote as a document to be dragged into the research folder in Scrivener.

Of course, annotated PDF documents can also be dragged into the Scrivener research folder, together with other media such as audio and movie files.


7 thoughts on “Research Tool Tip”

  1. I am loving Scrivener. I highly recommend taking the Scrivener tutorial supplied with the program. I am fairly tech savvy but the tutorial was a great introduction to the capabilities of Scrivener and how to use them.

  2. Hi Kate, thank you for your comment. I found the transition from the PC to Mac versions of Endnote fairly painless. As you can see from my original post, I use Endnote to record my research notes too, so I tend to use it for almost everything. The AGLC patch works fairly well but wouldn’t it be nice if they could make a streamlined AGLC style for Endnote without the messing about?
    Regarding Evernote, I was a bit slow taking it up but now use it fairly intensively when I am using the internet. It is possible to export one or more Evernote notes to a HTML file, this file can be added to the ‘Figures’ field in Endnote, or it can be dragged to the Research folder in Scrivener. There’s a fairly good video by Applied Insight at the Blip website about using Endnote, Evernote and Scrivener together. I found that very useful as a way of envisaging how others use those tools.
    Also, Michael Axelsen’s ‘Information Insights’ blog is great resource for those interested in using technology in research and writing.

  3. Thanks Kris. I read the RUSQ reviews and RefWorks looks promising. However, I agree with you both about the upside of using Endnote and wonder whether its a case of “Better the devil you know ..” Took a look at Scrivener too – WOW! I might need to have a play with that one!

  4. Thanks for this post. I used Endnote on pc for my masters thesis, with the AGLC patch. The cite as you write function was fabulous. I’ve tended not to use it for journal articles etc, just relying on my own footnoting etc. About to embark on a PhD, I will be using Endnote again – but now on a mac. I note that it’s in a new improved format and hope that I can adapt. I’ve got evernote but have absolutely no idea how to use it. Thanks for these comments on Scrivener – I guess it’s a matter of me just trying it out. I’m usually pretty ok with just writing so it’s hard to envisage how others use these tools.

  5. Hi Ann-Maree, thank you for your comment and the question! I have used Endnote for about 5 years, for 4 of those years I used it with MS Word 2003 on Windows 98 with the Cite While You Write feature. I am aware that many users have made unhappy comments about Endnote in that configuration, sometimes the dissatisfaction is to do with Endnote crashing Word or producing citations in a non-conforming format. My own experience is that after some initial teething problems with my learning how to use Endnote, I have not had many of the problems reported by others; just lucky that way!

    Last year, after nearly 30 years of using MS-DOS and Windows-based computers, I moved to an Apple Macbook Pro running on Lion OS X and using MS Office for Mac 2011 and so I am now using Endnote X4.0.2 for Mac. I also back up my reference library to Endnote Web (this means I can access my reference library from any computer with an internet connection, and allows me to add research notes from my iPad via a web browser).

    All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I haven’t used Endnote on the Windows 7 platform, but I have used it with Word on both PC and Mac platforms without much trouble. There are lots of other citation managers out there such as Reference Manager, Refworks, Zotero, Mendeley, Sente, and others. See, for example, the Reference & User Services Quarterly site for comparative reviews.

    But before you switch away from Endnote (not that I am particularly championing the program, but if you’ve invested time already in a well-established resource, then it’s worth investigating it a bit further) I suggest checking the Endnote website’s FAQs.

  6. Great post! I have had no end of problems with Endnote in terms of compatibilty with Windows 7, Word and other programs. I’ve been searching for an alternative. Any suggestions?

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