Research Assistant

For students and others writing research projects the task of creating a properly formatted bibliography can be a chore. I showed students in my Computer Technology class how to use Microsoft Word's ability to create bibliographies but what if you cannot use Word where you are doing your research? There are some Internet-based apps such as Son of Citation Machine but it requires the input of information before producing a bibliography. Then there is EasyBib which makes creating a bibliography as easy doing a couple of clicks. Recently, the people at EasyBib asked me to try out their premium service to see what I think. I used it to help organize my resources and notes for an upcoming blog post.

I first learned of EasyBib a few years ago when an English teacher told me about showing the site to her students. I was impressed on how easy it was to create entries for a properly formatted bibliography. Improvements have been made over time to make the site even easier to use. For example, all one needs to create a citation for a website is copy the URL of the website then click Autocite. A form with much of the website's information entered is created. Just fill in any missing information if available, then click Create Citation. Just enter a title, ISBN number, or keyword for books, magazines, or other materials to create the citation. There is an outlining application in the notes section to help organize your thoughts on the project. When you are finished you can save the bibliography formatted in one of the popular styles as a Word or Google Doc. This allows you to copy and paste the bibliography into your paper. If you are a premium subscriber, you can save your work as a project and come back to it later. To help the research process, premium subscribers can also create notes that can be linked to citations. The cost to be a premium subscriber is $4.99 per month; $14.99 per 6 months; and $19.99 per year. K-12 schools can provide the service for $165 per year.

EasyBib makes the process of gathering and citing research materials, well, easy. However, there are a few issues with EasyBib. First, while the price for subscriptions is not very high, cash strapped students and schools may still balk at the costs. Considering the number of research papers K-12 students every year, EasyBib may be a luxury that can be done without. To make well-earned money advertising on the site could be sold, then sell subscriptions to do away with the advertisments. Another thing I think would help would be a crude word processing application which allows researchers to write drafts of their paper which can be copied and pasted to a word processor for final editing and publishing. Finally, there needs an EasyBib mobile app for iOS and Android. This app can capture website information and save it with the click of a button. Also, barcodes of books, magazines, and other sources can be scanned by the camera of the mobile device and a citation be automatically created and saved in a project. Smart phones and similar devices are growing with popularity with students. Plus, there are other apps that can do similar tasks I described so a mobile app is almost a must for EasyBib today.

Overall, EasyBib is a good site to help create bibliographies and organize research in the cloud. The easy way of imputing information makes it a great time saver for anyone doing research projects. Being able to save your projects is helpful if you cannot carry a laptop between the library, coffee shop or home where a paper can is written. While the price is not terribly high, it can dissuade students and schools who must watch their budgets in these difficult economic times. Finally, a moblie app is needed for iOS and Andriod phones, tablets, and other devices that can scan barcodes to create citations on the go. If you have to write research projects then EasyBib will prove to be a valuable research tool.