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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Spring 2002

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[Board accepted]

EndNote At Lehigh

Sharon Siegler
Engineering Librarian
Lehigh University

Brian Simboli
Science Librarian
Lehigh University


We detail the experiences of librarians in implementing campus-wide use of EndNote, a citation management software package and describe a variety of approaches that librarians at other institutions may wish to employ. Librarian effort in promotion and support of EndNote is a rewarding way to enhance the library's presence on campus because of the close interaction with faculty and graduate students.

In the past year, Lehigh University's Information Resources has made EndNote, a citation management software package, available to students and faculty on campus. Because it facilitates the use of library resources, librarians have played an active role in supporting and promoting the software. We have found that, while supporting the software is time consuming, it is a great vehicle for enhancing the visibility of library services among faculty and graduate students. This paper details our experiences in rolling out EndNote, with an eye toward suggesting ideas that other institutions might want to adopt. At points we compare our experiences to some described in the literature.

Lehigh University is a private, small research university. Several years ago, the library, computing, and communications functions were merged into Information Resources. One of the consequences of this merger is that librarians are now playing a more active role in the implementation of software involving the use of library resources. EndNote is a case in point.

What is EndNote? It is a "citation manager." EndNote enables users to create a searchable library of downloaded or manually entered references for any type of publication: books, journal articles, web sites, legal material, and so on. Using that library, one can insert citations and instantly format footnotes and/or endnotes within a word-processed document; create stand-alone bibliographies; and organize reprint files, complete with personal annotations. There are other citation managers; in fact, we also have a license for Reference Manager. Although Reference Manager is used locally for large-scale and complex projects, we needed a program that was both easier for busy graduate students to learn and robust enough to handle their term papers and dissertations.

Information Resources provides access to hundreds of software packages and systems for the Lehigh community. Because they are specialized, most are not available immediately at the desktop; users install them from a central server. Lists of available software (by title, use, and type) inform the users of the options, but "citation manager" is a hard concept for most users to grasp. We chose to promote usage of EndNote in a variety of ways, revising them along the way as we gained experience.

1. Seminars. We offer introductory and advanced seminars as part of the regular Information Resources series on library and computer services open to all students, faculty, and staff. The introductory EndNote seminars cover: navigating an EndNote library; using "filters" to automatically enter citations into a library; citing references from an EndNote library; and creating an "independent" (stand-alone) bibliography. We do not cover the use of "connection files," which work with Z39.50 compliant databases, including OPACs. We find that while these files enable direct importing of search results into an EndNote library, users are constrained by the search interface provided by EndNote. However, institutions implementing Z39.50 may want to include coverage of these files.

The advanced seminar covers such topics as how to use preferences and term lists; how to create an import filter that draws in references from an already extant word-processed bibliography; and how to edit and create output styles.

Our introductory and advanced seminars have each been two hours long. John W. East's survey of EndNote use at 39 Australian universities suggests that this is typical. East found that some courses were just brief one-hour demonstrations, but that most training sessions were two to three hours long (East 2001). To accommodate enthusiastic users with many questions and to provide additional hands-on time, we will soon experiment with increasing the time for each of the introductory and advanced sessions to four hours spread over two days.

We initially ran our seminars in a format that involved lecture followed by exercises at the end. In a paper describing use of citation managers to teach information management skills, David J. Owen uses a model in which lecture is mixed with exercises (Owen 1997). We have settled on encouraging hands-on work throughout. We believe that this helps to reinforce points as they are presented. This method of course requires that everyone remain in tandem. Having a small group of students makes this possible. Surprisingly, some people are sophisticated users of other software packages, but uninformed about basic navigation in Windows or Macintosh environments. To assist them, our seminar documents include step-by-step instructions at difficult points. Another solution to this problem is to have students work in pairs.

In addition to our seminars in Lehigh's Information Resources series, we also provide introductory sessions for specific departments. These sessions have the same structure as those in the Information Resources series, but have the added advantage that examples can be tailored to the particular bibliographic databases and citation styles used in those departments. We have found that if a department wants a short presentation (for example, at a lunchtime meeting) it is better to emphasize what EndNote can do, not how it does it.

We have also given some informal training sessions, though on balance this is not something we recommend. A far more efficient use of staff time is to give training in the context of seminars where several persons can attend.

2. FAQ. We created a {FAQ} tailored to campus needs to supplement the one at the EndNote web site. The EndNote web site also lists {institutions} that provide their own information about the software.

Minimally, topics to cover in a FAQ include: how to install EndNote; new releases of EndNote; how to use EndNote off campus; availability of training seminars and further information; and how to obtain "import filters" (which enable automatically importing references into EndNote) for databases popular on your campus.

3. Import filters. We created two {downloadable import filters}, for the library's OPAC. The web page identifies the different purposes these serve. It is not unusual for schools to make their own import filters and connection files; East mentions that many Australian universities make these available on their web sites (East 2001). Indeed, EndNote comes with a list of connection files that includes the OPACs of academic institutions.

4. Software support. In addition to our regular roles as reference and collection librarians, we are the "support contact" staff for questions about EndNote. Some questions may require dipping into the manual or consulting EndNote's technical support. Although the EndNote support staff are very good about answering questions directly from users, trying to answer the question locally enhances in-house expertise. East comments " support for new technologies requires considerable investment in staff development and substantial expenditure of staff resources" and our experience confirms this (East 2001).

5. Mailing list. We have also created a campus mailing list to address EndNote issues. This list can be used to swap notes, address commonly asked questions, and post messages about seminar availability. Ours currently has very low activity, but we hope that it will increase as word gets out about the usefulness of EndNote. A mailing list's usefulness for a smaller university remains to be seen; larger universities may find it easier to build a critical mass of list participants.

Use of mailing lists to share information about EndNote is not novel. East discovered three libraries that maintain a bulletin board or discussion list (East 2001). In addition, EndNote has its own very active mailing list, for which a {searchable archive} is now available.

Finally, it is worth mentioning some novel uses of EndNote we are exploring at Lehigh:


East, John W. 2001. Academic Libraries and the Provision of Support for Users of Personal Bibliographic Software: A Survey of Australian Experience with EndNote. LASIE (April):64-70.

Owen, David J. 1997. Using Personal Reprint Management Software to Teach Information Management Skills for the Electronic Library. Medical Reference Services Quarterly 16 (4):29-41.

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