Bibliography Makers

Introduction

With more information than ever being published and made so readily available by the internet, it is becoming more important to give credit to any sources that you get information from. Bibliography makers are a great resource for students of any age or level of education to properly cite their sources. These tools allow you to make your bibliography by simply imputing the information about your sources. They make the process of formatting your citations much easier, because you no longer have to worry about what order the information is in or what the correct punctuation is. While there are many of these resources available online, we chose to test only three. We selected these three in particular, because they are free and appeared to be the easiest to use. They also allowed individuals to use their sites without having an account. Although, having an account allows the user access to helpful tools.

Our process for testing the bibliography makers was to create citations for four different sources, a book, a newspaper article, a magazine article, and an online article on all three websites. While using these websites, we considered how easy they were to use, how long it took to create the citation, whether they had autocite options (the ability of the tool to automatically formulate a citations when given either the URL for an online sources or ISBN for a book), how easy exporting the bibliography was, and finally how many categories there were for types of sources. It is important that the bibliography maker has the ability to form citations for many different types of sources. Sometimes the more unusual sources are those that students need the most help citing. Autocite options greatly decreased the amount of time it took to create a citation. For this reason, we chose to display the two criteria together.

Citation Machine

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Ease of Use

This tool was fairly easy to use. We found the formatting for some information about the sources such as the date and page numbers to be unusual and confusing at first. The page numbers asked for a letter and number combination, which is only commonly found in newspapers, and the date asked for numbers for the date and an abbreviation for the month. Another problem was that Citation Machine did not allow the user to input a city name for a citation of a newspaper.

Time Consumption & Autocite Option

Citation Machine took about the same amount of time to format our bibliography as most other tools we experimented with. It does have an autocite option for books only with an ISBN lookup option which saves the user a lot of time. Although this was helpful, there was no way to automatically cite a webpage.

Ease of Exporting

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At the end of the process, Citation Machine gave you the citation on the webpage, provided detailed instructions on how to get the individual citation into a Word document, and reminded the user to space and format the citation correctly on the page. They even include instructions on how to format in text citations. However, it does not remind the user to alphabetize the list once you get it all into one document. This is a very common mistake on bibliographies. So we felt that they should include that in the instructions for exporting the citation.

Number of categories

Citation Machine had twenty-six options of types of sources. However, at first it appeared to have only ten. The user needed to click the small "more" tab under the "MLA" tab to reveal the rest of the types. While some might like that most options are hidden at first, we found it somewhat deceiving.

Final Product

(Printed bibliographies should be in hanging indent format, which we were unable to display on this page)

Bird, John. Mark Twain and metaphor. Columbia: Univ of Missouri Pr, 2007. Print.

Bounds, Amy. "Boulder Honors a Baldwin." Colorado Daily 15 Feb 2010: 5. Print.

Hulse, Carl. "Baucus, Grassley Propose New Jobs Bill ." NYTimes.com. 11 Feb 2010. Web. 15 Feb 2010.

<http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/baucus-grassley-propose-new-jobs-bill/?hp>.

Mannix, Chris. "Wise Old Kidd." Sports Illustrated 01 Feb. 2010: 24-25. Print. : definition

Knight Cite

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Ease of Use

Knight Cite is very easy to use, while it does not provide the step-by-step instructions like Easy Bib, it is pretty self-explanatory and well-organized.

Time Consumption & Autocite Options

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We found that Knight Cite took the same amount of time for sources like magazines, but took longer for others, because there were no autocite options. This is one of the factors that affected how we felt about the tools, because when it is available it makes the process so much easier and take very little time.

Ease of Exporting

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If the user has an account and is logged into the site, then exporting and managing the bibliography is extremely easy. One benefit of the export on this tool is that it saved it under a much more logical name than Easy Bib did. However, Easy Bib opens the bibliography automatically after the user clicks "export", and Knight Cite does not. Also, while the user is logged in, Knight Cite, allows them to make multiple bibliographies and automatically saves new entries to the most recent bibliography. While these tools can be extremely helpful, the automatic save caused some confusion, because after it no longer tells the user that it is saving the citations.

Number of categories

There are twenty-eight different types of sources that you can cite using Knight Cite. It is helpful that they are organized into more broad categories. However, we found it difficult to distinguish which category our online news article would fit into.

Final Product

Bird, John. Mark Twain and the metaphor. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2007. Print.

Bounds, Amy. "Boulder Honors a Baldwin." Colorado Daily 15 Feb. 2010 [Boulder] : 5. Print.

Hulse, Carl. "Baucus, Grassley Propose New Jobs Bill." New York Times 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 15 Feb.

2010. <http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/baucus-grassley-propose-new-jobs-bill/?hp>.

Mannix, Chris. "Wise Old Kidd." Sports Illustrated 1 Feb. 2010: 24-25. Print.

Easy Bib

Ease of Use

Easy Bib was the easiest and most beneficial of the tools we chose to test. It was so easy, because it gave short and detailed instructions for each step of created your bibliography. It displayed three simple steps at the top of the page throughout the process, "Step 1: Choose a source, Step 2: Fill out field, and finally Step 3: Finish or add a new source". The simplicity of the layout of the site was much more pleasing to the user than the other sites. Easy Bib also allows the user to add annotations with ease.

Time Consumption & Autocite Option

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The time it took to make the bibliography on Easy Bib was considerably less than when using the other sites. This is mostly due to the Autocite options it offers. Not only does it allow the user to use the ISBN to get information about books, but the URL could also be used to Autocite online sources. Another helpful component of Autocite is that it allows the user to view the URL to ensure they are citing the correct website. These tools helped to make Easy Bib really time efficient.

Ease of Exporting

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One of the best features of Easy Bib is that it remembers all of your entries even if you are not logged in. This becomes extremely helpful especially when you have entered all of your sources, because it then allows you to export the entire list straight into Word. This direct export keeps the list in the correct format and alphabetizes the list for the user, unlike Citation Machine or Knight Cite. If you are logged in, then it allows the user to keep multiple bibliographies saved at one time and allows the user to email the bibliographies to themselves or others very quickly.

Number of categories

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Easy Bib has sixty-three categories ranging from paintings to simple websites. They are organized in a much better way than the other sites. When you click on the drop down that reads "click here to select a source", the menu of all of the categories become visible. It first list the most popular types in bold text, but also displays many other options after those. This is less confusing than the Citation Machine site that hides the less popular types.

Final Product

Bird, John. Mark Twain and Metaphor (Mark Twain and His Circle Series). Columbia: University of Missouri, 2007. Print.

Bounds, Amy. "Boulder Honors a Baldwin." Colorado Daily [Boulder] 15 Feb. 2010: 5. Print.

Hulse, Carl. "Baucus, Grassley Propose New Jobs Bill - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com." Politics and

Government - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com. Web. 15 Feb. 2010.

<http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/baucus-grassley-propose-new-jobs-bill/?hp>.

Mannix, Chris. "Wise Old Kidd." Sports Illustrated 01 Feb. 2010: 24-25. Print.

Conclusion

After having reviewed all of these tools, it seems that the best one is Easy Bib. It is the easiest to use, it has the greatest number of types of sources to cite, it takes the least amount of time with the help of the autocite options, and it has a good system for managing and exporting the complete bibliography. We would not recommend Citation Machine, because it is not able to provide the ease or helpful tools that the other two do provide, and it does not display ethos by not appearing professional. Knight Cite is a fairly valuable tool. The only component it lacks is the autocite option. So if the user is not interested in using this particular tool, then Knight Cite would be a great choice as well.

Although these tools can be extremely helpful to students, it is important to ALWAYS double check the formatting of the bibliography before you turn it in. If you look closely at the final product from each tool, you might see that there are small differences in each one. This was often caused by differences in the input options on the websites (for instance Citation Machine did not allow you to input a city for the newspaper article). So the user should always review the product to ensure that it follows guidelines and is in the correct format. Both Knight Cite and Easy Bib offered an export option that put the bibliography into the correct format including spacing, font, and the hanging indent required for MLA bibliographies.

Sources

Website

Baucus, Grassley Propose New Jobs Bill
Author: CARL HULSE
URL: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/baucus-grassley-propose-new-jobs-bill/?hp
Date: February 11, 2010

Book

Title: Mark Twain and Metaphor
Author: John Bird
Publisher: Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c2007
ISBN: 9780826217622

Magazine

Title of Magazine: Sports Illustrated
Number of Authors: 1
Author of Article: Chris Mannix
Title of Article: Wise Old Kidd
Date Published: February 1, 2010
Are Pages Continuous: Yes
Pages: 24-25

Newspaper Article

Title of Newspaper: Colorado Daily
Title of Article: Boulder Honors a Baldwin
Author: Amy Bounds
Date: February 15, 2010
Page: 5

Written by nduran8 and megancm
February 16, 2010

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