RefWorks Drop in Sessions Available for Help with Citation Management

RefWorks is a citation manager that helps you to keep your research organized, store documents, and create annotated bibliographies. The University of Scranton has a subscription to RefWorks that is available to all students, staff, and faculty.

The library will be hosting drop in instructional sessions for students to take advantage of this powerful tool. All sessions will be in Library room 306. Students can stop in at their convenience to ask questions or to get general instruction on how and why they should be on Ref Works. Available drop-in times are:

Wednesday, February 29 from 12-1pm with Kevin Norris

Monday, March 5 from 3-4pm with Donna Witek

Tuesday, March 6 from 8-9pm with George Aulisio

Wednesday, March 7 from 12-1pm with Kevin Norris

Compare and Contrast vs. Wikipedia is a free information resource tool which shares a few similarities to it’s widely popular colleague, Wikipedia.

Some of the similarities are that they are both free resources and they’re extremely easy to use… Another one is that they don’t look great when citing them in a research paper.

Wikipedia is undoubtedly the more popular resource and almost certainly has more articles in its collection.

However, the biggest difference between the two is the way articles are written.

As most everyone knows, Wikipedia uses “group intelligence” to compile what many consider to be highly accurate and extremely accessible information; whereas others consider it to be riddled with erroneous information, typos, and consider it poorly written. has each article written by a single author. The authors of the articles are known as Guides. These Guides are hired by solely to be their resident expert in a given field. At first glance sounds like it has an advantage over Wikipedia in so much as it could provide more reliable information. However, not all of the Guides live up to the standards that are required in Academe. Most guides are not scholars, they do not have a Ph.D., and haven’t dedicated their lives to their given field.

Many guides on the other hand are very well informed and highly trained, so another similarity between and Wikipedia is that they are mixed bags. You could be getting high quality information from both, but by the next paragraph you can be reading something that simply isn’t true.

The fact is that you are going to get information from website such as and Wikipedia (I do it too), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from websites like these, depending on the accuracy of information that you need, it’s OK to read these articles.

The important thing is that you cross reference the information provided with a more reliable source (i.e. encyclopedia, handbook, reference manual, etc.).

Please know that I am not saying its OK to cite Wikipedia and in your homework assignments (I am 100% against that), what I am saying is that it’s OK to check information resources like these, but you should always check more than one resource to make sure the information is accurate. Lastly, make sure those additional resources are highly reliable — those are the resources you can cite!

Inauguration Day

The inauguration of President Obama prompted me to do a little research on the customs surrounding this day. So I used a new research tool that can be found on the Library’s A-Z List of Databases. This new tool, called Credo Reference, is a great alternative to using Wikipedia because it allows you to find authoritative answers that it gets from hundreds of reference books in a broad range of subjects.

Here’s a snippet of what I found in the book, Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary:

Inauguration Day

From 1789 until 1933, the day on which the newly elected president of the United States began his term of office was March 4—now known as Old Inauguration Day. The day was changed to January 20 when the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1933. When Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the oath of office is administered privately, but the public ceremonies are usually postponed until the following day.

The swearing-in of the president had been held on the East Portico of the Capitol building since Andrew Jackson’s 1829 inauguration. Former president Ronald Reagan changed the site for his inauguration in 1981. Since then, the swearing-in has been held on the West Terrace of the Capitol. This site, which faces out onto the Mall where thousands gather for the event, affords greater visibility for spectators. Reagan reportedly also liked the symbolism of the president facing west, out toward the rest of the country.

Inauguration Day. (2005). In Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc.. Retrieved January 23, 2009, from

In addition to providing me with the basic information for which I was looking, Credo also provided me with links to related resources. By clicking on the Our Catalog link, I get a list of books that are in the Weinberg Memorial Library. By clicking on the Academic Search Elite link, I get a list of results from this database. Wikipedia can’t do that!

Credo automatically created a citation for me in APA format, but I could also get my citation in MLA format. And, I can e-mail the citation to myself, or save it in RefWorks. Wikipedia definitely doesn’t do that for you!

Give Credo a try, and when you do, post a comment to let me know how you like it.

Use RefWorks to Create Bibliographies

RefWorks is an easy way to store citations and generate bibliographies in correct format, either MLA, APA, or any of numerous other format styles. Students and faculty can find RefWorks by going to the A-Z List of Databases and then clicking on the blue RefWorks button near the top of the page. The first time you access RefWorks you will be asked to create a log-in name and password.

Most databases will allow you to export citations directly to your RefWorks account. Once in the account these citations can be organized and stored in folders according to subject. From these folders you can generate bibliographies in correct format style. Using the Write-N-Cite component of RefWorks you can also insert correct parenthetical references into the texts of your papers as you write.

RefWorks is easy to use. There are helpful tutorials online. A useful “how-to” folder is available at the Reference Desk. And, finally, if you have problems or would like to schedule either a one-on-one training session or instruction in RefWorks for your whole class, please give the Reference Department a call at 570-941-4000.