Citation Generators: Comparison of NoodleTools to EasyBib

We MUST talk about: Citation Generators

Fact #1:  Our school recognizes Purdue OWL as an excellent authority on citation style and writing.

Fact #2:  Our school has adopted NoodleTools as the citation generation tool that we will use.

Fact #3:  Our students sometimes use EasyBib anyway to generate citations, preferring the URL feature.

This prompted me to compare:

Here is how Purdue OWL instructs users to cite a Page on a Web Site:

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.

“How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.

Here is how Noodletools generates a citation for a Web Page (using manual cell editing): note: the second and third lines were indented by NoodleTools, however I lost that formatting in WordPress.

Gafar, Amin. “What is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?” Getting Pregnant.
BabyCentre, Jan. 2012. Web. 7 May 2015. <http://www.babycentre.co.uk/
x1014381/what-is-ovarian-hyperstimulation-syndrome>.

Here is how EasyBib generates a citation for a Web Page (using manual cell editing):

Gafar, Amin. “What Is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?” Getting Pregnant. BabyCentre, Jan. 2012. Web. 07 May 2015.

Here is how EasyBib generates a citation for a Web Page using the URL and not editing manually:

“What Is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?” BabyCentre. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.

Notes:

  • NoodleTools does not offer the ability to drop the URL during the generation of the citation where EasyBib offers the option at that time. (Note:  NoodleTools does allow you to drop the URL when you choose to print the bibliography using formatting options.)
  • NoodleTools formats the citation with proper indenting where EasyBib does not. (Note:  I lose that indentation in WordPress!  It truly does indent properly and EasyBib currently does not.)
  • NoodleTools drops the double digits for the date formatting (as modeled in Purdue OWL) where the number is under 10; EasyBib does not.
  • EasyBib URL citation generator (without manual edit) takes the publisher and calls it the website title or else it tends to duplicate the article title and website title (making the title appear twice).
  • EasyBib URL citation generator (without manual edit) never seems to identify a publisher and has a hard time identifying a date. This prompts students to have N.p., n.d. populating their entire Works Cited if they do not intervene.
  • EasyBib does succeed in the copy/paste feature of an Article Title or Website Title, where it converts lower case titles to become upper case titles, according to MLA guidelines.  NoodleTools does not (the student must recognize that they have pasted a title without proper MLA capitalization and change it themselves – NoodleTools throws an alert notice on the screen, however, I find my students have the tendency to ignore the alert.)

Recommendations:

  • Retain NoodleTools as only citation generator “allowed”
  • Implement NoodleTools free version at middle school and elementary buildings (if using generators)
  • Recognize that students will use EasyBib anyway and teach them what happens (go over Notes) during instruction.
  • Instruct teachers of the differences between the results using both generators so that they can look for areas of trouble and help students identify and avoid the common pitfalls.
  • Require students to send teachers their works cited/outlines through the NoodleTools email function

Locating and Using Statistics during Research (Screencast)

Our 8th grade students are conducting a research paper and are being asked to add statistics to their written paper.  I am supporting their project, but it is difficult to visit a different building within the district.  In order to instruct on this concept, I created a screencast.  It is always nice to do a screencast because you can embed the lesson on the webpage that houses the resources that students need to access to complete their project.

Here is the screencast:

Keyword Searching Global News by Region

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image courtesy of:  http://pixabay.com/p-158529/?no_redirect

As a librarian, I consistently encourage my students to seek various perspectives while researching.  While political, military, and religious perspectives are important, the most common perspective that they are likely to search is a differing cultural perspective.  It is so important that we, as citizens of the world, understand how we endure common plights and display similar human reactions.  It is also important that we understand that various regions are impacted uniquely, at times, as a result of culture, geography, faith, politics, etc.

So, I pushed up my sleeves and tried to help my students.  It was at that point that I found just how difficult it was to keyword search cultural regions.  I could find a newspaper for one country and search within, but it was hard to find a larger region to keyword search within.  I ended up creating Google Custom Search Engines to perform this task.  For each region, I am only allowed to identify 10 sites for the search engine to root through.  I tried to pick the most popular news sources for each region and I tried to spread out the coverage (I hope that I did an acceptable job) of news sources.

My favorite search has been with the keyword homework – my own views on homework can oscillate broadly as a busy sports mom and a teacher.  My second favorite search was with the keyword hunting.  I was helping a struggling student find supportive sites for his research topics and I took him into the Google Custom Search Engine and found that, in Africa, the bushmen are fighting for their rights to hunt and survive.  What an education it has been to search via these Google Custom Search Engines!

I hope that you and your students can use and enjoy the site.  I hope that many students are inspired to research varied cultural perspectives and that it broadens their knowledge of the world we live in.