This post will cover Things 7 (reference management tools) and 8 (Creative Commons and copyright) of the ’23 Things’ course.
When I was writing my MA dissertation, I became aware that many of my peers were using reference management software and while I felt it was too late for me to get to grips with a new system of doing things, I vowed that it would be a big part of my PhD research.
Fast-forward a year (almost) to the start of my PhD, and after reading a mountain of information about how to successfully complete my thesis, I once again decided that I would make use of a reference management tool such as RefWorks… I tried, I really did, but I just could not get along with the system and reverted back to my old ways of manually inputting references and saving files to my memory stick(s). The reason for this may also be that I am still more comfortable using a notebook and pens to make notes and jot down quotations.
What also continues to frustrate me with such tools is that when I try to export a citation, I often have to edit them substantially afterwards, thus taking up just as much time as manually inputting the information.
Clearly I have not yet found the best resource for me! Hopefully one day I will get to grips with reference management tools. To help with this, I have created an account with Mendeley: it is compatible with my iPad and, after reading the ’23 Things’ blogpost, it is the tool that appealed to me the most (incidentally it is also the most popular option amongst the aforementioned MA students). Although it is probably to late for me to make the best use of it for my PhD thesis, I hope that it will be of great help in future projects.
The second ‘thing’ of this task, Creative Commons and copyright, are issues that I have recently had to think about a lot; one of the articles that I am currently writing is on the images of British Library MS Cotton Nero A.x. that accompany the fourteenth-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. This has required me to seek permissions to use the manuscript images and I realised how difficult it can be to understand copyright and ensure that you are following copyright laws, particularly online. I have browsed the CC License page and will soon add a CC license to this blog as I intend to use it to discuss and share my research.