Since grad school, I’ve been a fan of the bibliographic software EndNote. In the late 1990s, I had pretty much abandoned the card catalog for finding references, but I had yet to discover the rich, full-text databases that would later emerge. So I didn’t mind cutting and pasting authors’ names and other publication information into the EndNote fields.
Nowadays, most researchers conduct literature reviews exclusively on-line. If an article’s full-text does not appear on the web, I find myself questioning whether I really need that citation. Over the years, EndNote has added more web functionality with the ability to import fields and link to PDFs and URLs. Still, it remains a separate, proprietary system that sits on my hard drive.
I’m trying a new program called Zotero. It is a way of organizing citations directly within your browser. Because it’s integrated into the very frame in which you search for sources, it captures text easily and seamlessly. Citations can be tagged like blog posts and organized into collections. With some more setting up, you can access the bibliographies from a remote computer. And it’s free! I know there are a lot of competing software out there, but Zotero seems to have been designed by researchers for other researchers.