i understand that scrivener is not designer for academic writing. but i am using it for my thesis now. after studying the software for a while, i think the project references is the only function i could borrow for managing my bibliography. but i just noticed that the project references cannot be exported. any idea?
I’m not sure where you heard that. It’s a general-purpose writing tool that has no dedicated features for most forms of writing. In fact, academic work is one of the forms it does have dedicated features for. Integration with a bibliography manager is one of them.
Most people use a dedicated database for managing cited works, generating cites and building a bibliography. There is plenty of information on the forum here from others who have used Scrivener to write works that require a lot of referencing. At the very least, look into the free and excellent Zotero.
As for exporting References: that is correct, they are not intended to be used as the kind of thing you might export. They are for tacking resources onto sections of your thesis. If a PDF on your disk pertains to a particular subsection, you can drag it into the References table for easy access in the future, and even view the PDF in Scrivener by dragging it to an editor header bar. You can also store links to the Web and other Scrivener items, internally and cross-project. It’s a writing and research tool, not a bibliography tool. Hopefully it makes more sense in that light.
Scrivener is an excellent tool for academic writing - I wrote my doctoral thesis in Scrivener.
Definitely consider a third party bibliography manager such as Papers, EndNote, Zotero or Bookends (I think I’ve missed a couple - I usually do). This will be especially useful for creating your reference list. You can also store the original files in the bibliography manager and just link them into Scrivener - this helps keep the file size of Scrivener down and avoids rampant duplication of files on your computer.
As for writing itself, I would not dream of using anything else now and actively recommend Scrivener to colleagues and any grad students I meet. If my undergrad students ask, I recommend it to them too, especially if they are considering post-grad study.
Thanks nom! What I do now is creating a text-based bibliography in the project notes. I have too many papers and I want to focus on those relevant. Hope my solution works, although awkward.
I strongly recommend using bibliography software for your thesis, unless it is only a a couple of thousand words long (although even I’d still it’s worth it). I can’t recommend it enough. You might lose some time learning to use it (probably not much) but the time you will save later on is incalculable.
For my thesis, I actually used two: Papers and EndNote. The former was my main research repository, the latter was used solely for my thesis citations. That is, I would only add references to EndNote when/if I cited them (and all the PDFs in EndNote were, like in Scrivener, actually links to the source documents in Papers). Then, when I referenced a source, I would simply drag the citation(s) in from EndNote - that’s it, citation done. I was well into my thesis by the time Papers released a version that could also do citations, so I wasn’t going to swap at that point. Also, EndNote was (and, as far as I know, still is) far more powerful and flexible in how it handles citations than Papers. On the other hand Papers is much easier, and far nicer, to use.
It’s also worth checking what your university/college supports. For example, at my university EndNote is free to staff and students which certainly influenced my choice. Having said that, if I was starting now, I’d probably just use Papers (although it’s worth checking out others such as Bookends and Zotero).
I encourage you to think very careful about whether you really want to manage all your references, and hence citations, by hand. From my perspective, it’s just not worth the pain and effort - especially as your references go up to the hundreds or more. Using citation/bibliography software automates the referencing process so you can focus on what really matters: your content.
I don’t disagree with nom’s proviso, especially for student writers who may be unsure of citation format or who are using a great variety of sources. But for our current novel, based on 400+ books and articles, plus links to online versions, my partner and I found it much easier to enter the source notes in RTF files within Scrivener.
We enter them seriatim, with author last name first, each item a paragraph, and then sort the paragraphs to produce an A-Z order. That is much easier than entering data in Endnote, then exporting, and combing out all of the briars and ticks that seem to plague data entry. I also grew tired of paying for frequent Endnote updates that added little of value to the software.
(Of course, a novel does not use footnotes, which scholars love and publishers hate, and if you must enter them, then bib software has won the day. If you go to print, though, be prepared for editors who want to kill most footnotes or publish them as a web site e-file. They are too costly to print and let’s face it, read by few. Pace, Timotheus et Xiamese.)
Some novelists use footnotes: Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett both come to mind. Academically, I write in APA style and it doesn’t use footnotes*. However, I agree with druid**: if your referencing needs are basic then manual entry is fine. If, on the other had, you need to format in a particular academic style*** and you need to cite every reference**** and ensure that all those references match the requirements of the style you have to use, then a citation manager is second in value only to Scrivener itself.
[size=85]At least, not for citations****
**See! It does happen.
***such as APA, Chicago, Harvard, etc
****and reference every citation
*****For other uses, some of us may overdo it…
Pax vobiscum 8)