These are software packages that keep track of references. New references are added to a personal database. Such packages should integrate smoothly with text and word-processing software, allowing you to produce papers and reports that automatically number the references and produce a reference list at the end. The commercial Windows-based packages tend to be restricted to smooth integration with Microsoft Word.
Integration is particular useful in papers using the Vancouver style of referencing, as manually re-numbering references as they appear in the text is a considerable task.
The software usually comes with a large number of pre-defined formats, as required by a large range of journals. You can also customise the resulting formatting of the references, e.g. maximum number of authors, number of initials in the name, formatting of the year, etc. That way if, for example, you decide to re-submit an article to a different journal; or re-jig something you've written for a different purpose for which a different referencing style is required, all you have to do is tell the software which referencing format you want it to use, and reformat the bibliography - all of which usually only takes seconds; minutes at most.
The same company controls and sells the three major commercial referencing packages. They have very similar features, and it can be best to use whichever of them your colleagues are most familiar with.
Free alternatives tend to avoid proprietary formats and some are based on the BibTex format which is intended to integrate with LaTex or LaTex-based word-processors (e.g. Lyx).
- Pybliographer (or pybliographic) is a common option which is cross-platform for at least MacOS/X, Linux and Windows.
The advantage of cross-platform options is portability between operating systems.
- Bibus - A cross-platform package designed to work with Pubmed and common word processing software.
- JabRef - This is a Java-based software that and so ports to any operating system.
- Zotero Firefox extension - Firefox add-on which also allows referencing of various resources. Integrates with Microsoft Word as well as Open Office.
Help:Citations for details on referencing within ganfyd.org