Citelighter Makes Online Research Less Painful
There are few things more annoying than manually writing up a bibliographic reference, or copying and pasting information into a citation generator one text box at a time. Citelighter is a new online service that can make this tedious necessity of college life a thing of the past, at least for some sources.
To get started, simply sign up for an account at Citelighter.com and install the Firefox toolbar (yes, that’s a bit of a bummer) UPDATE: I’ve been told they’re working on Chrome and Safari extensions. As you scan around the web, you can highlight any information that would be relevant to your topic, and hit “Capture.” A popup window will appear with the highlighted content and text fields for all the relevant bibliographic info. Many of these boxes will be filled automatically, though you may need to add a few things manually. For example, the app didn’t pick up author names properly on HackCollege, so I had to key those in manually.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite as well for research papers and databases as it does for standard websites. You won’t be able to scan in PDF’s of research papers, and it seemed to get a little confused by the structure of the Academic Search Complete database we get through Trinity. Still though, it may be worth your time to fill the information in manually just to keep all of your citations in one system.
You can pull up your comprehensive list of quotes and sources when it comes time to write your paper, and even export a full bibliography in MLA, APA, or Chicago/Turabian format. There are obviously a million different ways to track sources and generate bibliographies, but Citelighter is well designed and works great, particularly if you aren’t exclusively citing academic journals.