Best s/w for starting Uni.

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samuelas
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Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:42 pm Post

rebecca wrote:I may get flamed for saying this, but every university I've dealt with insists that all on-line coursework be submitted in doc, docx, xls. I return papers for re-submission in doc when students give me something else. Not every professor is so generous. iWorks does a good job of translating into MS Office, if you are determined to avoid Microsoft. However, give some thought to buying the student version of MS Office. Use one of the others for most of your work if you'd prefer. I do. But if your school is like the one where I teach, a copy of Office on your hard drive will simplify your life.


Funny--I only accept RTF or ODF.

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Jaysen
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Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:53 pm Post

doc, docx and the other M$ formats are not "cross platform". they are proprietary and licensing could be enforced. PDF is in the same boat.

RTF is public domain but was initially proprietary. PDF has been "pd" by Adobe, but there is still some concern there. ODF is probably the only real non-proprietary format, but it is not as widely used making it less acceptable.

The whole argument that "M$ is what folks use in the real world" the the core of the problem in my mind. Formats like ODF, RTF and PDF make the use of processor specific formats like doc/x, pages, etc the bane of modern computing. Until we, the consumers, stop thinking like lemmings we will continue to suffer from what I like to call the "microsoft shotgun" method of software development (read druids post). If we want truly portable formats we need to stop using software that doesn't support them.

This means M$ and Apple are pretty low on the list of vendors...
Jaysen

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samuelas
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Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:07 pm Post

Scylax wrote:
The most important is bibliographic s/w. I've never used it before. I downloaded Zotero, but I hate Firefox, and most of my references will be printed books. Also I frequently have no internet access at all. I tried out bookends, but it felt limiting and I just didn't take to it. I downloaded the trial of Sente, and that looks much better. But I know my Uni supports Endnote, so would that be a safer bet? Also, my subject is in Humanities, and uses JSTOR. Is one better than another for that?


Zotero works with books too--most of my refs are print. Just like with bookends or sente, you can enter hem manually or download the info from amazon or google books or something like that. I suggest having another look--it's free, easy to use (easier than the others you mention, I think), and like the others, scans RTF texts to produce the final document. It also has cite while you write-style plugins for Word and OpenOffice. Another reason to reconsider is that its styles are often more correctly implemented than in sente or bookends. (bookends has finally started to fix its MLA... after 3 years.) It also works perfectly well offline and also has wonderful sync capabilities.

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gnoli
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Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:29 pm Post

Scylax: my field of interest is in humanities also. Be sure that Bookends is the best choice, without any doubt. It is absolutely more efficent than Sente. I tried both of them. The philosophy is different. With Bookends you can create a huge database with tens of thousands references and use it during all your life. Sente is aimed to small, single-project, databases, as Zotero.
Bookends works very smoothly with JStore allowing the automatic import of citation with pdf etc....
In my opinion Scrivener, Bookends, DevonThink, Mellel and Nisus are the only serious reasons to be MacOS users :mrgreen:

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samuelas
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Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:38 pm Post

gnoli wrote:Sente is aimed to small, single-project, databases, as Zotero.


I don't know that much about Sente (but as I recall you can create a number of different libraries, holding thousands of references); however the above posted is simply incorrect about Zotero. While its implementation is different (a main "My Library" with "Collections" and also the option of using tags to organize things), it also lends itself precisely to the development of a "lifetime" database of many thousands of references. Zotero is developed by scholars like me--the others aren't and that's the difference.

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:31 pm Post

Scylax wrote:Thanks everyone for your very helpful comments so far. I will be doing Undergraduate work over 6 years part-time. I have used Word 2008, and I don't mind it too much. It is slow and crashes quite a lot, but if it's best, I'll use it. My Uni requires both paper and electronic submission.

I just got Circus Ponies notebook, and I think I'll make good use of it. As for organization, I use my iPhone, and the free s/w iGTD, which is enough for my needs.

What I'm nervous about is bibliographic software. The price of Endnote scares me (Sente is bad enough), but I will pay if it's worth it. As far as I know, it's the one the Uni uses and supports. Any more advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

And I am shocked deeply that anyone could be penalised over a file-format. I find that frightening!

Thanks all!


Very cool. 8)

I think you'll like Notebook (I've liked all the programs like it I've tried) and Word will do just fine, despite the dislike most of us have towards it. :D

Regarding bibliographic software, the honest truth is you probably don't need it for undergraduate study, it doesn't really come into it's own until post-grad work. Depending on your workload, and how much you have to balance, you may be better off manually entering citations for the first few papers you write and then switching to bibliographioc software if you want to after you have a better understanding of what's involved. I say this for 2 reasons: (1) starting uni throws up a lot of new things to have to deal with. In addition to new knowledge, concepts and challenges to existing ways of thinking, there are all the various university procedures to learn, plus the pragmatics of getting around campus, the social demands, learning the expected standards of academic writing,understanding the specific details of the citation method of your school (MLA, Harvard, APA, Turabian, etc). Plus whatever else I've forgotten! If that sounds overwhelming, don't worry - everyone goes through it and it doesn't last long. (2) Learning how to cite and format by hand allows you to become familiar with the method and then subsequently check the software for mistakes (it most likely will make mistakes, especially for uncommon citations). As a tutor, I'd rather my students know what they were doing before trusting a computer to do it for them (same applies to spelling and grammar :roll: ).

Regarding EndNote:
If your university actively encourages Endnote, it may actually be free for you as a student. For example, my university provides Endnote for free to all its students and staff. It may not be the "best" (very subjective anyway) but the price is unbeatable!

There's an awful lot of advice provided here by many good-hearted souls. Take from it what you will, and remember that whatever you end up using will probably work for you, and will probably change while you are studying. There's no such thing as the "perfect" approach - tweak and change your way through. Imperfect has worked for most of us!

Congratulations on gaining entrance to university. Enjoy your degree. And remember: pizza is for now, learning is forever. Balance the two. :wink:
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Scylax
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Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:15 am Post

Very cool. 8)

I think you'll like Notebook (I've liked all the programs like it I've tried) and Word will do just fine, despite the dislike most of us have towards it. :D

Regarding bibliographic software, the honest truth is you probably don't need it for undergraduate study, it doesn't really come into it's own until post-grad work. Depending on your workload, and how much you have to balance, you may be better off manually entering citations for the first few papers you write and then switching to bibliographioc software if you want to after you have a better understanding of what's involved. I say this for 2 reasons: (1) starting uni throws up a lot of new things to have to deal with. In addition to new knowledge, concepts and challenges to existing ways of thinking, there are all the various university procedures to learn, plus the pragmatics of getting around campus, the social demands, learning the expected standards of academic writing,understanding the specific details of the citation method of your school (MLA, Harvard, APA, Turabian, etc). Plus whatever else I've forgotten! If that sounds overwhelming, don't worry - everyone goes through it and it doesn't last long. (2) Learning how to cite and format by hand allows you to become familiar with the method and then subsequently check the software for mistakes (it most likely will make mistakes, especially for uncommon citations). As a tutor, I'd rather my students know what they were doing before trusting a computer to do it for them (same applies to spelling and grammar :roll: ).

Regarding EndNote:
If your university actively encourages Endnote, it may actually be free for you as a student. For example, my university provides Endnote for free to all its students and staff. It may not be the "best" (very subjective anyway) but the price is unbeatable!

There's an awful lot of advice provided here by many good-hearted souls. Take from it what you will, and remember that whatever you end up using will probably work for you, and will probably change while you are studying. There's no such thing as the "perfect" approach - tweak and change your way through. Imperfect has worked for most of us!

Congratulations on gaining entrance to university. Enjoy your degree. And remember: pizza is for now, learning is forever. Balance the two. :wink:[/quote]


Thanks for the advice! Studying part-time and living at home will hopefully remove some of the stress for me, because I want to get a degree, but don't like the idea of Uni itself that much. (I can't eat pizza either!). Thanks for the advice on learning referencing techniques-in fact I have been studying them carefully for a while, and think I can probably do them ok, but would like s/w to keep everything together and save time.

My Uni offers a small discount on Endnote, but it still costs about a hundred pounds odd, so I think I'll probably try bookends.

Thanks for such a thoughtful and detailed response, I really appreciate it!

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gnoli
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Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:48 pm Post

Scylax wrote: so I think I'll probably try bookends.


Good choice !! :D

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brunus
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Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:19 pm Post

Hi there,
anybody who manage to use Scrivener and Zotero in such a way that you can take advantage of the write&cite feature that you would get using Word or OOo Writer?
The alternative would be Bookends, but as a macuser, I really have hard time to accept it's ugly interface.

brunus

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xiamenese
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Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:09 am Post

brunus wrote:Hi there,
anybody who manage to use Scrivener and Zotero in such a way that you can take advantage of the write&cite feature that you would get using Word or OOo Writer?
The alternative would be Bookends, but as a macuser, I really have hard time to accept it's ugly interface.

brunus

Interesting. I use Bookends without such problems. On the other hand, I took one look at Zotero and fled 'cos I couldn't stand the interface! I really don't like Firefox either!

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samuelas
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Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:03 pm Post

brunus wrote: anybody who manage to use Scrivener and Zotero in such a way that you can take advantage of the write&cite feature that you would get using Word or OOo Writer?
The alternative would be Bookends, but as a macuser, I really have hard time to accept it's ugly interface.


Just to note: Bookends won't give you "write and cite" functionality either. Scrivener and Zotero can work with RTF scans, which is essentially what Bookends does. For what it's worth, Zotero also has a new more Mac-like look (if you use it on the Mac, that is...)