By any other brand-name, not so sweet?

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Something is afoot in the world of reference generators. The American company Chegg, which claims to be  “all about removing the obstacles that stand in the way of the education YOU want and deserve” [Chegg: What we’re about], seems to be buying up service after service.

They already own CitationMachine,  BibMe, EasyBib, and CiteThisForMe. None of them is particularly good at what they claim to do, and (in their free versions and since being taken over by Chegg) they are bedevilled by splash and flash advertising (as with Citation Machine, illustrated on the right).

Several of my earlier posts point directly or indirectly to shortcomings in these services.  Their auto-citation generators leave much to be desired. They also leave much to be edited or added after the reference is auto-generated. A common plaint is that students don’t do this – they unthinkingly and uncritically accept auto-generated output no matter how many errors or omissions.  Alas, the manual form-filling modes are often not much better. Too often they fail to ask for elements required for particular kinds of reference and/or they mangle the inserted information when generating a reference.

A relative newcomer in this field is RefMe. While it has faults and issues, it does seem a more reliable tool than the services noted above. It has gained much respect in the school library community, and is often compared with Noodletools.

Me, I think Noodletools is a far superior package, both in its reference generation and in the writing and learning processes too, but I can see why many are attracted, at least initially, by RefMe.

For how much longer, I wonder? Two days ago, I received an email message from RefMe. The subject line was demoralizing, RefME becoming Cite This For Me on February 28th (email message dated 26 January 2017).  My heart sank even further as Continue reading