I was recently asked my opinion of the EasyBib add-on for Google Docs. I don’t – didn’t – have an opinion. I haven’t tried it. But, pushed by the request, I took a look.
First, though, I had a look at EasyBib itself, to see if an issue I had noted before had been addressed. It hadn’t. While checking, I found a lot of features new to me – and many more issues to add to my list of concerns.
So, let’s go over these first.
The first thing I looked at was whether EasyBib had improved the way it handles dates, in its automatic citation generator mode. I have remarked before [Getting it wrong] that it seems to convert (some) British dates to US dates. Nothing has changed.
Here, 1 December 2014 is interpreted as 01-12-2014 and so becomes January 12 2014.
Anyone relying on auto-citation might, or might not, notice that something is wrong.
There are other details that EasyBib’s auto-cite feature cannot always find or identify, such as the author, the title, the publisher, even when they are plainly there… Some omissions are highlighted, and users are invited to complete the missing details themselves. I understand (anecdotally) that few students do. They tend to accept whatever EasyBib gives them, and few check what is missing or the actual citation generated. Some omissions are highlighted, some entries are just plain wrong. It’s a quick-and-easy route to disaster. Continue reading