There has been a lot of interest among doctoral student researchers, and others, about the various programs for academic writing and reference management. These include EndNote, Papers (Papers2), Mendeley, Scrivener, Evernote, and many more. Some time ago, I suggested an online seminar be organised, and there was a good response from participants in the #phdchat Twitter group. I have been in touch with reps from some of the companies, and they are interested in participating. A lot of what we need is already present, particularly in recorded introductory and instructional videos.

Based on the interest and feedback, here is the approach I am taking!

1. Develop an initial list of topics, questions, concerns from potential participants. This is where we are at now, and your input is needed. Please provide as comments to the blog, or email me at tony ‘at’

2. Identify and list short introductory videos on products that should be viewed in advance of a discussion. I also want to identify the instructional videos for more detailed help. I’m asking that reps provide this as a comment or by email.

3. I will ask product reps to provide a written blurb on how their products can help. In particular, I like the theme of ‘how do you play nicely with other products, or do a great job on your own?’ Once we have the topics, questions, and concerns from potential participants, these might help guide the reps.

4. Host a live ‘synchronous’ hour of short presentations, questions, and answers.

5. Continuing asynchronous discussion forum.

6. The development can be in stages, leading up to an online session in, perhaps, September.

Again, your input is requested and needed. The main guidance I want to give is that this is to be a ‘how to play nice’ seminar. There will be opinions, for sure, but let’s focus on the place that each product has for some of us. What works for one may not work for another!


  1. Hi Hayley.

    September, or perhaps October, is likely. As for day of the week or time, nothing has been proposed at this point. It will not be at the regular #phdchat day/time.


  2. James Rudd

    Hi Tony
    I’m interested in this area. I am a science post-doc.
    I am in love with Papers for the Mac. But I’m not yet comfortable with the recent upgrade to Papers 2. Endnote I use because of necessity; on the Mac it’s a clunky piece of software but does allow me to compile bibliographies for some obscure journals that other software does not. Evernote to me is more of a repository for notes and web clippings. Scrivener is amazing piece of software for writing manuscripts and research grants.

  3. Hi,

    Sorry for the delay in replying. Good idea – do you plan to have a live video seminar (as presentations from diff companies) and a chat at the same time where people can ask questions?

    May be a good idea to make a poll of all bibliographic management software, and get people to choose 5 (or whichever number) they are interested in.

    All the best


  4. Thanks for the response, Salma. The live video was intended, but it will depend on interest from the presenters and participants. One presenter preference for text has been received.

    The coordination of more companies would not be easy. Having said that, I did a poll in a course not too long ago and had interesting results with different products being mentioned. I’m not seeing the range in our discussions. For this seminar (there could be follow up ones), I am so far going with what the common discussion has been. There will be room to add material from other companies, and we might be able to work in another presenter or two. For this to happen, we would need to see the product name being mentioned, and we might need some assistance tracking down a rep. Zotero is one I am thinking of adding. Let’s see if there is any other specific input. Do you have any in mind?

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