New user -


I just discovered Scrivener, and I really like it’s interface. It seemed like the answer to my dreams.

I am finally beginning my quest to write a non fiction book, and I have maybe 30 books I might draw citations from in support of my idea. After doing the Scrivener tutorial, and reviewing the forum, it appears I should be using some sort of bibliographic software. I was hoping to avoid buying and learning yet another piece of software.

So, is it absolutely necessary to use a bibliographic tool? Can’t I use the metadata tags in some way?

That said, what is the best way to get the words off the paper on my shelf, and into my computer? Scanning and OCR? Is there a good place to find information on the nuts and bolts of modern research?
A website?

Thanks in advance

I would recommend bibliographic software only if you are a scholar and plan to write many articles and books out of your compiled research. Then the software makes sense, because it makes easy work out of finding sources in catalogs, writing notes, and styling your footnotes and bibliography.

In most trade nonfiction books, publishers forbid footnotes and only permit a listing of your main sources. If that’s your case, then just create in your Scrivener Research folder a document called Sources. Each time you cite or paraphrase a new source, write out its bibliographic information there. Author names are reversed (Twain, Mark) and listed in A-Z order. (After exporting to Word, you may sort the list paragraphs.) To learn correct bibliographic style, just Google “bibliographic style” and you’ll find many sites that offer examples.

As for moving words from paper to computer, I always try to minimize that transaction. On the computer, I create outlines and indexes of my research files, not complete transcripts. You want to be able to look at a computer note and know where to find the longer version on your shelf. Research is compiling vast amounts of data; analyzing and writing about it is a process of distillation, in a ratio of perhaps 100 to 1.

For research methods, Google “research methods” and choose something closest to your field, since there are big differences between the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Finally, if you are writing for publication, many publishers describe their manuscript requirements at their online sites. Good luck!