Thing 14 (part 2): Reference management, a library perspective

This post was written for 23 Things for Professional Development, Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / CiteULike.

My last post was all about the experience of using reference managers as a student.  This post is about my experience of librarians providing support for the use reference managers.

When I was working as a trainee at the Radcliffe Science Library I had the opportunity to get involved with some of the user education offered by the librarians.  I tested the worksheets that were given to participants at user education sessions and helped at the sessions as a demonstrator (i.e. when the participants were on the practical part of a workshop I went round answering questions).  There were some sessions which covered just reference management and some where reference management was just part of a session on research skills.  Some sessions were a compulsory part of the course, but most were advertised by the library and open to anyone.  Mostly they were aimed at undergraduates tackling their first research assignment and/or first year postgraduates.  One-to-one sessions with subject librarians was also available.  Different sessions used different software and certain departments had a preference for different software.  The full range of courses included RefWorks and EndNote which were provided by the university as well as the (currently) freely available Zotero and Mendeley.

There is also an online guide to reference management, with specific information on RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley and Colwiz at  One of my projects during my trainee year was to research and produce this guide.