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RefME – Citation Tool that Frees Up Time for Research

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RefME, a free citation management tool, only launched in Sep 2014 but already has over 1 million users. It is used by researchers in industry and academia, students, and even legal professionals, and has already received numerous accolades and awards. If you cite any type of information–from journals to books and movies–I recommend you take a look at RefME. I just completed a review of RefME for FreePint. Here’s the introduction:


From the FreePint Blog:

We asked Cindy Romaine to review the product as she has many years of experience in managing information resources and runs her own research consultancy. Having reviewed RefME (Subscriber content) she found its “ease of use for generating citations for bibliographies and footnotes” in a large number of formats of real value.

As Cindy explains, “By efficiently creating bibliographic citations, RefME gives you more time to spend on the substantive part of your research and less time spent on formatting bibliographies, footnotes, and in-line references”.

“Think of it as crowdsourced referencing,” she adds.

The product has over 12.5 million books in its database and seven export options including:

As Cindy says “RefME is an excellent product for building resource lists, bibliographies and footnotes. Because RefME is free, not ‘freemium’, you get complete functionality from this product compared to other products that charge a fee for additional features.”

What Might Be

Earlier this week I attended a presentation by Roger Martin, the author of The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. There is a great article about the book in Businessweek as it was one of their top recommentations for 2009.

The event was held at the new, and very cosmopolitan Ziba Design building on Ninth and Northrop in Portland. The crowd was large, hip, and enthusiastic.

As his thesis, Martin poses this question: “Why aren’t companies more innovative, especially since innovation is such a competitive advantage?” He investigated the obvious answers–that  companies like what they already have or that they don’t have the resources–and he found they were not true. Companies really do want to be innovative.

So, what is impeding innovation? From his research, Martin concludes that it’s the subtle ways that people think that block changes in process and structure that lead to innovation.

Martin then outlined three ways that people think. The first is analytical thinking which looks at data from the past to predict the future. Its goal is a reliable outcome, but the limitation is that when you are looking to innovate you cannot use inductive or deductive reasoning to prove something new. In fact, Martin goes so far as to say “prove it” is the enemy of innovation.

Another way that people think is intuitive thinking, which has the goal of creating “what might be.” Its purpose is to know without explicit reasoning. This method of thinking has 100% validity, he said, because it lacks parameters.

The combination of both approaches is called abductive thinking, and its purpose is to integrate the past and future, and to combine reliability and validity. The intersection of analytical and intuitive thinking is where innovation occurs.

He argued that corporate life is dominated by analytical thinking, and that it has been pushed so far that it is counterproductive. He gave suggestions for intuitive thinkers to understand and empathize with analytical thinkers. He also challenged analytical thinkers to share reasoning and data, but not conclusions with intuitive thinkers.

If you change structure and process, then culture shifts occur. Cultural shifts lead to innovation.

As SLA looks to become Future Ready and posits “what might be,” we need use analytical and intuitive thinking to engender new processes and structures to support our members.

What’s your dominant way of thinking? Analytical, intuitive or abductive?