Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oh, Baby! Browser Bibliography!

Researchers at George Mason University are developing a plug-in for the Firefox browser that will help academics organize sources and properly cite them. The tool is designed to harvest bibliographic information from online sources and organize it for someone doing research on the Web. Assuming the bibliographic elements are formatted in a way the software can recognize, the application will parse title, author, and other information and correlate it with the source. Daniel J. Cohen, assistant professor of history and one of the developers, said it can be thought of as "incredibly smart bookmarking.... You're not just bookmarking the page, but you're automatically [capturing]...all that info that scholars want to save." Unlike commercial products that organize sources, the new application will tie directly into the browser, eliminating the step of manually collecting citation details. The open source application is expected to be completed next year and will be available for no charge from George Mason's Web site. Cohen said he believes the application will make unintentional plagiarism less likely than if a researcher were keeping sources organized manually. Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 December 2005

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