Reference Manager Version 10 for Windows. Berkeley, CA: ISI ResearchSoft, 2002. CD-ROM, User's guide for Windows xiv, 414 pp. Price (in USA) $355.95; $275.95 if downloaded. [UK Distributors: Bilaney Consultants, St. Julians, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0RX - Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for price. Also Adept Scientific Plc., Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts, SG6 1ZA UK. Contact: Adept information]
Reference Manager Version 9 was reviewed in Information Research in October 2000 and the review there covers the basic functions of the system. The appearance of the opening window and tool bars in Version 10 are identical to those in Version 9 and the earlier review should be referred to if readers have not previously used Reference Manager or have not previously read the review. This review will focus on the changes that have been made to the package and, consequently, will be rather brief.
The first point to note is that Reference Manager 10 will not automatically install over Version 9, should you already use the package. You will need to select the appropriate folder during the installation process. The installation notes in the "ReadThis" file on the CD are not very clear on exactly what one needs to do (but there is no further information in the User's Guide), stating:
You can install version 10 directly over an existing version of Reference Manager. During installation, to write over the folder, use the file browse button within the Install to >>>> Dialog box.
When I followed this instruction Version 10 was installed into the Version 9 folder, but the Version 9 files were not removed. However, when I checked what had happened to the Word link, I discovered Version 10 had replaced Version 9 on the drop-down Tools menu. I assumed, therefore, that the previous version has to be uninstalled separately. When I tried to do this with the Add/Remove Programs tool in Windows, I got an error message and using the uninstall program in the program folder did not remove all the files. Eventually I had to manually delete all of the files and directories and start all over again. My recommendation is that, if you already have an earlier version of Research Manager, you should transfer your databases to a temporary location (that is your *.rmd and *.rmx files), uninstall the earlier version, then install Version 10 and transfer your database files back into the Reference Manager folder.
Of course, the problem may have been the result of my disc being cluttered up with more 'stuff' than I actually need or use, but an automatic installation program that takes care of all this would be an advantage.
This version is an enhancement of the earlier version, rather than a completely new product. One of the main improvements is at the database level, with four new fields for linking to PDFs, full-text documents, images and related records. The system allows an unlimited number of databases the capacity of which is limited only by system capacity. Thirty-five reference types can be defined, each with up to thrity-three fields. Up to 255 Internet databases can be searched simultaneously. This should keep even the most anal of researchers happy.
Records can now be spell-checked but I found that the 'British English' dictionary on the disc was empty - as were some of the other dictionaries. I suppose that I could have used the 'American English' dictionary and simply added the correct spellings as I came across words, but, instead, I enquired of the support service how to add a dictionary and where to find it. There seems to be nothing on the Web site to direct a user to dictionary files. The first response was not very helpful - it told me to do what I had just tried to do...
The 'Cite while you write' feature, which builds the reference list as you insert citations in the text has been improved by allowing notes to be added to citations and by making it easier to design a custom layout for the bibliography. It is also possible quickly to remove field codes when submitting a paper to a publisher who requires papers to be submitted without field codes.. To do this, you should first make a copy of your paper, preferably giving it a new name. You then, if using Word, go to the Edit menu, then Select all (which highlights the entire document), then hit Ctrl-Shift-F9 to unlink the text citations from the bibliography. One might also add, for the benefit of anyone submitting to Information Research, that you should do this before converting a Word document to HTML.
There are some 700 output styles for automatic formatting of the bibliography but, strangely, only two are identified as being in the 'Information Sciences' disciplinary area: MD Computing (which I have to admit I'd never heard of, but which turns out to be a free circulation magazine on health informatics.) and Information Systems Journal. No sign of JASIST, Journal of Documentation, Library Quarterly, Journal of Information Science, Journal of Library and Information Science, or even Information Research. In other words not one of what we might think of as the core journals in the field. I've remarked on this before in reviews of both EndNote and Reference Manager, but it doesn't seem to do any good. I have now requested a style for Information Research and will update this review with news when, and if, it happens.
Updated styles and connections to on-line databases from services such as Silverplatter, OCLC First Search, EBSCO and DataStar. In addition, you can connect directly to Web of Science (assuming you have a password) and download references directly to Reference Manager.
Reference Manager is powerful system and the network version could provide an academic department or research group with access to common databases. It's capabilities for downloading from a wide variety of on-line sources are a powerful aid to building bibliographies, and its Cite While You Write feature makes the process of building citations into a paper easy and straightforward. You can test the package by downloading the demo version.