21 January 2011

Son of Citation Machine

Maybe I shouldn't post this, but I use an online citation machine to produce citations in MLA format for my papers.  It's not perfect, but I haven't had a problem with it!  I know MLA format well enough to correct mistakes like spacing and italics, but I don't need to memorize every format for every possible material I use since I can just plug in the boxes!  That is one of those things, like many spelling and grammatical errors, that new technology makes so much easier.  Word automatically corrects me if I forget to capitalize something or if I cannot spell the word "grammar" (sometimes I am tempted to spell words the way I say them).  It's interesting, though, to see junior high students who don't know how to spell or punctuate or capitalize because the computer always does it for them.

My point is that we develop a new skill set when we have advanced technology such as this.  My professors would certainly devote more time to the mechanics of MLA if they knew I couldn't find more than I ever wanted to know about it online.  Thus, instead of having a day in my criticism writing class to talk about MLA we spent that day talking about Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent.  Perhaps this musing could turn into a testable indicator of digital literacy, though my creativity is running low and I can't think of how.

6 comments:

  1. I think citation management tools are just one example of technology that can be used to free up our brains for really important work. These tools are essential for anyone doing any kind of literature or source review, in my opinion. I've never heard of Citation Machine before, but there are plenty of other similar tools (Zotero, Refworks, Mendeley, etc.). The important thing, I think, is that you are using something. Life is too short to spend figuring proper reference formatting over and over again.

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I have never managed to get Refworks to function for me but I think it is time to dust it off and try again.

    Also, I was wondering if you were able to find a book that is required for the prep class yet (or if you have a defense of the one you wanted to read or whatnot, I'm not sure what the situation was there sorry if this is not applicable), but if you are looking for an all around awesome book Nine Lives is a great one I just finished, and it has a whole chapter on Dharamsala. Even if you already found a book it could be interesting to look into! You can borrow my copy if you want. :)

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  3. Another service you may want to try is EasyBib.com. They have autociting features and you can cite over 50 sources, and it also offers note taking tools.

    Such tools I think are useful because it also helps prevent plagiarism. Students often won't cite things because they are intimated by citation mechanics. When you don't cite things, you plagiarize. Making the citation process easier will prevent this, and save students time!

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  4. I agree, Jay, though I think that one flaw of technology is that we are saving so much time yet end up much busier than before (how does that work?)

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  5. Rachel, I'm not really a fan of RefWorks since it doesn't work well for me, either! I have almost finished the novel I originally chose, but I want to read much more (and I'll have so much spare time come block 2!) I would really love to read that book when you're through with it, it sounds fascinating

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  6. Anonymous, thanks for the recommendation! You've made a good point--I think students are more inclined to cite when it's so easy to do so. The only problem I can see with online resources like this is that they may be outdated and not produce the newest form of MLA (or whichever format)

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