Evaluating web resources
Kent State University has an excellent list of criteria for evaluating resources found on the open web.
A reference manager can be an indispensable tool for managing your research information. It can help you keep track of your sources and your notes, and makes formatting your citations and reference list a much simpler task than it might otherwise be.
Below is a list of the best known, most widely used reference managers. I encourage you to experiment with one or more of them, and to find one that works well for your needs and budget.
- Zotero (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
- Paperpile (works with the Chrome browser, and integrates well with Google Documents; unlike the other reference managers in this list, Paperpile works on a Chromebook)
- Mendeley (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
- Sente (Mac only)
- Papers (Windows and Mac)
Zotero and Mendeley are free. Paperpile is $2.99/month (billed annually) for an academic license. A premium account for Sente is $59.99 for students, and a student license for Papers is $49.00. Both Papers and Paperpile offer a free trial period. Sente doesn’t, but they make a basic account available for free, and that may well be sufficient to meet your research needs at this point in your academic career.
Keeping form separate from content: Resources for writing with Markdown
- Markdown is a really useful (and simple!) markup language for writing documents that can quickly and easily be converted to formats such as Word, PDF, or HTML. Any text editor will do for writing in Markdown, and you already have one on your computer (TextEdit if you’re a Mac user, or Notepad if you use Windows). It really is simple — see Lincoln Mullen’s “Markdown: The Syntax You (Probably) Already Know.”
- Over at The Programming Historian, Sarah Simpkin has provided an excellent guide: “Getting Started with Markdown.” Those who’d like to delve deeper might want to check out Tenen and Wythoff’s “Sustainable Authorship in Plain Text Using Pandoc and Markdown.”
- Pandoc is the file converter that will transform your plain text Markdown files to whatever format you need. The links above can help you get started with it.