Reference Management Software

If you need to manage references for your research, you’ll get good use from this review of eight reference-management tools.

Eight ways to clean a digital library, Jeffrey M Perkel, Nature (Nov 2)

This article focuses on eight tools — colwiz, EndNote, F1000Workspace, Mendeley, Papers, ReadCube, RefME and Zotero — all competing in the reference-management market (see ‘Reference-management software’ or download this Excel spreadsheet for a fuller comparison of the software ). Some excel at streamlining the process of browsing and building literature libraries, whereas others focus on creating bibliographies, aiding collaboration through the use of shared workspaces or recommending papers.

Managing search history

Do you want to keep your search history or not?

If you want to remove all or part of the search history Google kept follow instructions at How To Delete Google’s Search History (from Ubergizmo)

To track what you visit you could use the new app Fetching ( . Use the tool to search and tag your saved pages.

Fetching is fully automatic via a browser plug-in that runs in the background. Just like your browser history — only better. You don’t need to do anything to keep track of everything. Safari, Chrome and Firefox are all supported.

Changes with Google Cache

Google Operating System describes the New Interface for Google Cache (June 19).

Cache holds the page as Google indexed it.  Viewing it  can often help when a link goes dead or there are very recent changes.  Click on the down arrow beside the link in the search result and select “Cached”.

Google lets you switch between:

* the “full version”, which is displayed by default
* the “text-only version”, which doesn’t load images, scripts and other resources
* the page source – a new feature that shows the source code of the HTML page.

Xmarks Bookmark Addon

Nice description and endorsement in The Scout Report (Vol 21 No 15) of Xmarks for managing and syncing your bookmarks.

Often considered the number one bookmarks add-on on the market, Xmarks is built to be compatible with Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. The program can be downloaded in seconds. From there readers may begin backing up and synchronizing bookmarks in an intuitive and friendly template. In addition, Xmarks will sync bookmarks across computers, and, if desired, across different web browsers. While Xmarks is free for personal computer use, a premium version ($1 per month) is necessary for readers who want to sync with their iPhones, Blackberries, and Androids. Xmarks is the most popular bookmark sync add-on for a reason: it’s easy to use and convenient. [CNH]

DuckDuckGo – more instant answers

DuckDuckGo has a newsletter – part of the blog where they announce the new and brilliant features.

DuckDuckGo Adds Instant Answers For Nearby Parking, Online Courses & UV Index Risks, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (April 7)

One new feature is to find nearby parking to a place. Much to my amazement it had an answer for Roy Thomson Hall Toronto – though only one, not close, and very expensive – but it’s a start.

Will find online courses too – just enter topic + online course; eg., happiness online courses – there are many.

Dates in Google Answer Boxes

Watch for it – Google is showing more dates with search results – especially those handy Answer Boxes.

Google Begins Including Dates on Answer Boxes in Search Results to Show Timeliness, Jennifer Slegg, The SEM Post (April 6)

Some answer boxes are now displaying the date the content was published at the end of the content in the answer box to show how timely the information presented is. Especially on topics that are constantly changing, this means that a searcher can perhaps get a better idea of how accurate the information is based upon the date it was published

Getting past barriers

Hola – a great Chrome or Firefox browser extension for accessing  web sites that would otherwise be blocked based on your IP number. A WebSearchGuide reader sent me this tip. Hola makes it possible to access from outside the United States and view anonymously (ie privately) the search results complete with in-depth articles – a feature still not rolled out to the rest of the world. Canadians will also appreciate that it  makes it possible to receive music played from US-based services.

From the FAQ:

Hola’s goal is to make the Internet faster and fully accessible to everyone. Install Hola on your PC, phone or tablet to make your Internet faster, more open and more anonymous. Hola lets you have unlimited access to information that is otherwise not available in your geography while protecting your online privacy. It also lets you stream videos faster than ever before. Hola is a collaborative Internet — it works by sharing the idle resources of its users for the benefit of all.

Worth taking some time to try out.

Reading Level in Google Search

Google Operating System has reported a Google Reading Level Bug (Feb 18). Reading level is a hard-to-find and therefore easy-to-forget search feature on web searches. Find it by picking Search Tools > All Results > Reading level. When it works it helps you zero in on content that is “advanced” or scholarly, vs basic / elementary or intermediate.

Google is still identifying the advanced items but isn’t capturing them in the graph.