Fore‐cite: tactics for evaluating citation management tools

. Reference Services Review 40 (2): 295--310 (May 2012)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore a general set of criteria that can be used by librarians and information professionals for the evaluation of citation management tools. Design/methodology/approach: Collection development practices found in the library world are combined with software selection criteria from the corporate sector and applied to the citation management environment. A discussion of these practices identifies general criteria, or best practices, that can be used in the evaluation of various types of citation management tools. Findings: Eight criteria are discussed. Key questions are raised that can assist librarians and information professionals in the evaluation process. Additional resources that may assist with evaluation efforts are highlighted, where applicable. Originality/value: Existing attempts to evaluate citation management tools have employed an approach centering on the features and functionality of a limited set of tools. While effective, these studies neglect new developments in the citation management environment, run the risk of missing other criteria that may be important to both users and libraries, and have short life-cycles due to the mutable nature of software updates. This study explores the larger environment in which these tools operate, and develops a macro-assessment of the field, not tied to update schedules or specific software options. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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