1. A detailed description of the activity undertaken
First the ease of set-up was examined using the school's library guide. Set-up took about 30 minutes, including looking for passwords and access codes. For a student reasonably familiar with add-ons and chrome (which most of our students should be) this part should not be a problem.
In order to review the citation tool, three of the most common primary resources used by our students were tested, namely print books, journal articles and Internet sites. For each resource, output was created in the 2 most common citation methods used by the school, namely MLA and APA. The output of EasyBib and Zotero were compared and both were checked to the MLA and APA guidelines. The other factor that was looked at included how much additional manual input was required and how "intuitive" manual completion was.
All results were comparable, EasyBib added "Print" as the format, which is correct, where Zotero didn’t, but EasyBib did not state the edition, whereas Zotero did.
EasyBib could not find the citations using the DOI. Trying "autocite" using the name of the journal also didn't work, so manual input was required.
For MLA, once again, EasyBib correctly includes the format (Web), which Zotero doesn't. For APA, only the Zotero result is in fact correct and up to date with the latest APA guidelines as it includes the DOI. The lack of EasyBib's ability to extract data from the DOI can be seen as a drawback particularly for older students who use journal articles more frequently. This seems to be a result of the fact that EasyBib is only linked with JStor and Proquest.
A considerable amount of information was missing. In fact the only item that was correct was the URL, and every other piece needed to be found. However, every step of the way EasyBib gave helpful hints as to what information was needed and where the information could be found. A particularly useful feature was the way that the "finished" citation evolved alongside the fill in boxes - the "LearnCite" feature.
For MLA, the EasyBib citation was the correct one, mainly as a result of the fact that Zotero doesn't have an entry space for the publisher / owner of the website. In the case of APA, neither EasyBib nor Zotero were fully correct.
2. Answers to the following questions:
What did you learn?
Despite the appearance of ease and automatic citation generation, one needs to have a healthy dose of scepticism and the willingness to be familiar with the citation rules and to check results or input against these rules. When I contacted the APA and Zotero about the discrepancies in citations, both organisations got back to me within a few hours, the APA to confirm the correct form and Zotero to say that the error would be fixed.
How was the activity relevant to your professional practice?
I can now better serve my student clients and find the information needed for them to manage the citation and referencing needed in the MLA format using the EasyBib tool for their research.
Were any gaps in your knowledge revealed? How might you fill those gaps?
I had gaps both in the use of the EasyBib tool and in the MLA citation method. I am more comfortable with EasyBib now, and have found some good resources on both APA and MLA that I can consult when in doubt as to the correct citation form.
3. Websites consulted and references:
Barnes, D. (2013, February 5). EasyBib Bibliography tool – a student review [Blog post]. i see teach. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://daibarnes.info/blog/easybib-bibliography-tool-a-student-review/
Burkhardt, A. (2011, July 11). A Tale of Two Citation Tools [Blog]. Information Tyrannosaur. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://andyburkhardt.com/2011/07/11/a-tale-of-two-citation-tools/
Griffith, E. (2012, September 27). Abandoned for Years, Web 2.0 Tool EasyBib Is Now a Thriving Business [News Article]. PandoDaily. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://pando.com/2012/09/27/abandoned-for-years-web-2-0-tool-easybib-is-now-a-thriving-business/
Hamilton, B. (2012, March 27). Easing Their Citation Pain: Putting the Focus on Critical Thinking in Research with EasyBib [Blog post]. The Unquiet Librarian. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/easing-their-citation-pain-putting-the-focus-on-critical-thinking-in-research-with-easybib/
Hamilton, B. (2013, January 14). Get Started with EasyBib - EasyBib 101 - [Library Guide]. LibGuides at Creekview High School. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://www.theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/easybib
Hume-Pratuch, J. (2014, July 25). How to Use the New DOI Format in APA Style [Blog post]. APA Style Blog. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2014/07/how-to-use-the-new-doi-format-in-apa-style.html
Kessman, J. (2013, October 23). EasyBib Listed as a Great Mobile App to Help Research. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://content.easybib.com/category/product-reviews/#.U-J4woCSyIA
Lipson, C. (2011). Cite right: a quick guide to citation styles--MLA, APA, Chicago, the sciences, professions, and more (2nd ed.). Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press.
OWL Purdue University. (2014a, August 4). APA Formatting and Style Guide. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/
OWL Purdue University. (2014b, August 4). MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications). Retrieved August 6, 2014, from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Provenzano, N. (2011, April 18). It’s an Easy Choice! My Review of EasyBib. The Nerdy Teacher. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://www.thenerdyteacher.com/2011/04/its-easy-choice-my-review-of-easybib.html
Teaching Blog Addict. (2011, September). EasyBib: a Free Bibliography Maker [Blog post]. Teaching Blog Addict. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://www.teachingblogaddict.com/2011/09/easybib-free-bibliography-maker.html
UWCSEA-East Campus. (n.d.). EasyBib - Citation - LibGuides at United World College of Southeast Asia. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://research.uwcsea.edu.sg/c.php?g=33290&p=211365