We are forever recommending the big databases for finding journal articles and conference proceedings but do you ever wonder how much overlap there is between the databases in science and engineering? You can compare databases using the Academic Database Assessment Tool from the Center for Research Libraries.
Compare the journal coverage of the two major multidisciplinary databases, Web of Science and Scopus, or see how the content overlaps with Compendex (engineering), Inspec (physics) and Geobase (geosciences). According to this tool, there are 11377 overlapping journal titles between Web of Science and Scopus – not a small number.
The redundancy in the search results from searching multiple databases is why we also recommend using citation management software. You can send all of your records to EndNote, for example, from the different databases and then remove the duplicates before you look through them to delete ones you don’t like and select papers of interest you’d like to read. EndNote can also check the McGill Library holdings and attach full text PDFs to records (just fyi).
Why does the library invest in citation management software? Why do so many librarians spend time promoting, teaching, and supporting citation management software to students and faculty? Are we wasting time and effort?
As a student or scholar, we have all had some unforgettable moments when we had to look for a reference in a pile of articles at the last minute, because we lost the notes where we had recorded that piece of reference. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have something that could keep our notes well stored and easily accessible?
Citation management software is a kind of computer program that can serve this purpose. It catches references and stores them in a local or web-based space and automatically produces the bibliography as well as in-text citations for a word processing document, such as Microsoft Word, according to your choice of citation style. The special coding added into the Word document allows you to edit your work any time by adding, moving, and deleting citations as well as switching to another citation style if needed.