31 July 2009

Source Management

Being a Ph.D. candidate isn't easy, especially when one is reading tons of papers and writing stuff, particularly that thing called a dissertation.

So one problem that I had to deal with this past week was the problem I have been having with my collection of articles and books that I use as sources for my research. I have an external hard drive where I store all electronic copies of it, categorized by year of publication. I suppose that is the system that works for me. I could easily recall which paper was discussing which topic simply by the publication date and the author. So instead of categorizing my articles in name order (i.e., having a folder for all the papers authored by people whose last name begins with A), I do it by year.

However, that is not enough.

Sometimes, I would recall that there was this one paper I read, and it was about this and that, but I cannot find who wrote it.

Then, in comes my office mate, who speaks of wonders of EndNote. Apparently, this is a software that manages your bibliographic entries. And as a student of the university, I can get it for free, instead of paying for it.

So I downloaded it yesterday, and spent the half day importing my Bibtex entries to the format that EndNote takes. I already have a file listing all the possible relevant articles for my research, but it is in the form of LaTeX, and so I had to convert it first and then import it. That was easily done, and there are other wonders that I am discovering. One of these included discovering that I could actually save the abstracts of the articles into EndNote, so I can have a quick browse of what the article is about, before even digging the actual article. So I can just put up EndNote and browse my collection from there.

I suppose if one has a 12-page long bibliographic entry list (and it is still growing: the field of psycholinguistics is very virile and plenty of people are busy at work publishing articles) then one should have this sooner than later. I am glad that I discovered this early enough that I don't spend a lot of wasted time searching through my unfiled articles in my office.

So, what else can this program do?



(The Jefferson Memorial, from my DC Memorials Series)

2 comments:

  1. Dissertations, paper abstracts, volumes and volumes of research -- intimidating stuff huh? I think doctorate education is not for me. I don't like reading highly academic materials anymore. My unfinished MSSTAT in UP was more thank enough experience.

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  2. Abaniko,

    It may sound intimidating, but I don't find it that way. Sometimes, yes, I feel like I am burying myself in all these papers, and it may seem that there is nothing left in the world for me to discover, but that is not the case. The world is very big, and there are still things that people haven't done before, and I just enjoy discovering them.

    I suppose one must have a big ego if one wants to get a doctorate. One basically is telling the world that one's ideas are important, and worth the attention of the scientific community.

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