d i g i t a l   a d v i s o r . . .

Starting Your Own EndNote Library

EndNote is such a terrific program that it deserves more than one mention.   You can get an overview of the program on my "Handy Software" page. This page gives more details on how to get started developing your own bibliography. Most other data base software refers to the entire data base as a file, and individual records as records.  Endnote creates a file called a library, and the individual records are references.  An Endnote file, or library, can be really huge if you want it to be, or you can create multiple smaller files.  For now, let's create a file, or library, to hold all stuff you are reading while in graduate schol. Here are the steps you go through.

1. Create a library

To get started, create a new library called, “grad school,” or something like that.  You can change this name later on if you want, and you can create other libraries if you want. This first library will be a place to keep track of all the things you read in your courses.  If you stick with it, it will be the place you keep track of everything you read throughout grad school, it will help you prepare for your comprehensive exams and it will help you start a literature review for your dissertation.

From the pull-down menus, Click File –> New. 

Enter a name, like “grad school” to create your new library.  Once you do that, you will encounter an empty window, because your new library has nothing in it. 

2. Create a record, or reference, to put into your library

Start with a reading assignment you are currently working on.

Type control-N, for “new.” 

This gives you a blank screen that looks like this:

The first thing you need to do is check the reference type, written in a small box above the form, that says “journal article.”   This box has a pull-down menu in it so if you have a book, say, then click on the pull-down menu and select "book." You can see that Endnote allows numerous types of references--journal articles, book chapters, whole books, conference presentations reports and so forth. The default here is always a journal article, so you will need to adjust this for other things.

The reason this reference type matters is that different reference types require different information. For example, when you have a journal article, the form asks you for journal title, volume, issue number and pages. When you have a book, the form will ask you for a publisher and a city. Try selecting different reference types and see what the spaces are for each one.

3. Fill out the form

Now you can fill out this form. The best way to enter authors is to put each one on a separate line, so that two authors look like this:

John E.  Chubb
Terry M.  Moe

The cool thing about authors is you can put them either frontwards or backwards and Endnote will interpret them accordingly. You can do this for instance:

John E. Chubb
Moe, Terry M.

Point of Interest: Endnote relies on commas to tell if you are listing the name frontwards or backwards. If you have a name like von Helsinger, though, you need to put this one in last name first so that Endnote will realize that the "von" is part of the last name, not a middle name and not a part of the first name. Here is now it will read these entries.

John von Helsinger is interpreted as

Helsinger, J. V, or as
J. V. Helsinger

von Helsinger, J.     is interpreted as  J. von Helsinger or as
von Helsinger, J.

If there is no comma, Endnote will assume that the last word in the line is the last name. If there is a comma, Endnote assumes everything preceeding it is part of the last name.

Point of Interest: The principle above also is important when you are citing an organization as an author, like the American Federation of Teachers. If you enter this name with no commas, Endnote will assume the first word is the first name and the last word is the last nam. So it will cite this author as Teachers, A. F. O. The way to fix this is to put a comma at the end of their name, so the author is listed as

American Federation of Teachers,

Endnote assumes everything preceding a comma is part of a last name, so it will cite the AFT correctly as the American Federation of Teachers.

Now tab down to the next spaces in the form (these are called "fields") and fill them all in.  Since you haven’t read this article yet, you won’t be able to fill in the abstract but you can guess at some keywords. 

4. Take advantage of Fields that canGuide your Study

Most of the fields you fill in are designed to help you cite the publication, but some of them are there for you to talk to yourself about the publication. These are really important fields, and you should think about how to use them. For instance, you will never need the following fields for reference purposes, though they can be very helpful to you for note-taking purposes:

type of work

You can use these fields to write notes to yourself. Endnote also allows you to create custom fields, which you can read about in the manual, but for the moment, think about these specific ready-made fields and how you can use them. For instance, when you write an abstract, don't just copy the author's abstract, write a letter to your self about what you read, what you understood, what flaws you see in the piece, or what other pieces you've read that provide contradictory ideas. Similarly, think about key words. The point of these is to help you search for articles once your library has grown into a big collection. Once you've got a couple of hundred articles (this will happen sooner than you think) you'll discover that they are less distinct in your memory and you need ways to find subsets of them. So keywords can help. Think of them as search terms. Make a list of the main topics you think you will be studying and use these as your key words. Make them easy to type so that you can type them frequently. For instance, you might want to have comparative education as a search term, or professional development, or induction or preservice teacher learning or reform. Use broad topics, not really specific things like the St Louis Teacher Study Group.

Here are the things I keep track of:

-I use the "type of work" field to write in what the author actually did. For instance, is this a conceptual essay, a policy analysis, a case study, a survey or what? Putting something in this field helps remind me of the type of contribution the person is making. And it helps me sort quickly when I am looking for particular types of studies. If a professor asks you what the evidence is for a particular idea, you can quickly see whether an author is providing evidence as opposed to a conceptual argument. Conversely, if your professor asks for what the competing theories are about something, you can quickly see which pieces are conceptual rather than empirical.

-I use the notes field to tell myself where the article is. Eg, it is in my 930 course pack, or it is in my file drawer at home or it is on my office book shelf?

-I use the label field to keep track of the specific subject and grade level the paper is about. If the author is talking about how to reform elementary mathematics for instance, I put elementary mathematics in that field, and reform in the keyword field.

These aren't the only way to use these fields, of course. The point is to think about the things you have been or will be reading and how you want to sort and classify them for future reference.

The abstract is especially important. You might want to consider organizing all of your abstracts around a relatively simple outline, to make sure you always enter certain information.  For instance, you might want to always have an opening section that tells the author’s premise or the problem he is addressing, another section that tells what he did to learn about that (his research methods, the literature he searches) and a third section that tells what he found and what he concluded.  Note that you don’t HAVE TO DO any of these things.  The goal is to make sure your abstracts are useful TO YOU later on.

Point of Interest: One thing you DO need to be careful of is that you distinguish your own thoughts from the author’s thoughts.  One way to do this is with brackets.  So if the author says A and B, and you conclude C as well, you might write this:

                        Jones points out A and B. {C also follows from these I think]. 

Or you can just use sentence structure to separate yourself out, by saying

                        He notes A and B, but as I read it, I realized C also. 

This will mater later on, because you may want to cite Jones and you don't want to say, "according to Jones, C. Because Jones really didn't say C, you did. So it is important that you clarify, when you are writing your notes, which things were actually said by the author and which thiings are your response to the author.

OK. Now that you have a start on your library, you need to tailor EndNote to suit your personal needs.

5. Tailoring Endnote to Suit your Needs

Each of the lines in the form above is a called field (author, date, year, etc) and these are arranged in different ways for different types of publications. You will notice that the form includes a lot of number of fields that you will never use. Endnote is designed to serve people in a wide range of specializations. So it includes, for insance, a field for ISBN numbers, and you will probably never need to keep track of this. EndNote lets you tailor this form to suit your personal needs.  You can personalize EndNote and tell it not to show you that field.  This is the first of three steps you will want to do to tailor EndNote.

a. Tailoring the form you will fill out

The first thing you want to do is get rid of all the excess lines, or fields, in your form, so that it is cleaner and easier to fill out. Endnote has a table that lets you tell it which fields you want to appear in your journal article form, which fields in your book form, which for your conference presentations and so forth.

From the Edit pull down menu, choose preferences, then Reference Types.
Then click the option that says, "Modify reference types."

You should get a window that looks like this:

The rows in this window list all the possible fields that could appear on any given form and that you could fill out. There are many more fields than are visible immediately--notice there is a slider bar on the right side. If you slide that down, you will see the complete list of possible fields that could be displayed for any given reference. The columns represent different types of publications–journal articles, reports, books, book chapters and so forth.  There are also many more columns than you can see, as the slider bar at the bottom suggests, so be sure to check them all. 

So what do you do with all this? The words written in each cell tell you how this field is labeled in each form. For example, the fifth row is labeled "secondary title." That is the generic name for a field. When you are filling out a form for a Journal article, this field will be labeled "journal" but when you are filling out a form for a chapter in a book, this field will be labeled "book title." Each column here refers to a type of reference, and it shows you which fields will be displayed for that type of reference. You can see that, for journal articles, the form will ask you for the author, year, title, journal, volume and so forth. These labels are what shows up on the form you fill out when you are entering new references.

Other cells are blank, indicating that that particular field will not show up on your form for that reference type. Notice, for instance, that the “secondary author” field is blank under Journal Article column, but has the word “editor” written under Book Section column.  What that means is that, when you are entering a chapter from a book, there will be a field called “Editor” for you to fill in, but this field will not show up when you are entering a journal article.

If you scroll down the page and see fields that you DO NOT NEED, you can delete the terms shown in this table. So the first think you want to do is eliminate anything you DON’T want to appear in your screens.  Cursor down through this list.  If you don’t want ISBN numbers or call numbers or labels or whatever, just delete the text from these cells and they will not show up on your data-entry screen any more.

The second thing you want to do is make sure all the fields you DO want to use are filled in.  Remember, if no word is in the cell, then that whole field will not show up on your form. If you want to use the “type of work” field (which I strongly recommend), for instance, you want to follow that field across from left to right and make sure the phrase “type of work” is written into each column, so that it will show up on your data-entry screen for each type of publication.  If it is blank in any column, it will not show up on your data-entry screen for that type of publication.

You can also alter the names of any of these fields.  Say, for instance, you decide to use the “label” field to indicate where you each article from, or who recommended it.  You might want to change the name of that field to “source.”  To do that, you would enter the word "source" in each cell in that row. That is, follow the label field across from left to right, entering the term “source” in each box as you go.  Then, when you are later filling out forms for your own referencess, a field called “source” will routinely appear on your form.  You can use it to put in the name of the professor or course or other person who recommended this piece to you. So think about what you will want to keep track of, and make these fields work for you.  (On the other side, don’t worry too much about doing this perfectly because you can change them at any time as you develop your own thoughts and as your needs change.  I have altered my fields a lot over the years).

When you are finished, just click “OK” on each screen and soon you will be back to your main window.

b. Create Term Lists and Link them to your Fields

Once you have your fields as you want them, you should create term lists for each field.  These help you later on to see the various categories you have used and to redefine them if they aren’t meeting your needs any more.  Don’t worry about whether you’ve got the “right” list of terms right now. you can add terms whenever you want.  The point now is just to establish that you will want to have a term list, and to give it a name.  The terms themselves can evolve.

This task is more complicated than it should be.  It requires all of these steps: (a) create the term lists, (b) link the lists to your fields, and then (c) set the lists to auto-complete anything you write in the field.

--Create the lists

In endnote 4-6, Click Terms–>Define Lists–>Create. 
In endnote 7-8, Click Tools- Define term lists

The dialogue box you see includes some of the term lists you might want, but you can add any others that you want.  It should look something like this:

So you can make a term list for sources, for labels, for notes, for type of work, or any other field you think you might want one for. To create a list of terms for “source,” for instance:

click on “create,” then enter “source” in the box it gives you. 

All this means is that later on, when you are filling out your forms, Endnote will save all the sources that you mention so that you can search for them or use the lists in other ways.

Before leaving this screen, there is one last thing you need to do. Under the box that lists all of your term lists, there are several types of punctuation shown, each with a check box next to it. You need to select one of these that you will use to separate your terms from one another. Suppose, for instance, that you have a reference that has been recommended to you by several people. Maybe it was in your CEP 930 course, plus your fried Joe recommended, plus your advisor recommended it. So you want to list all of these in your source code. You'd do it like this:

CEP 930; Joe; Dr. Advisor

The semi-colons tell EndNote that these are separate terms, even though they all appear within the same line on the form. You can decide how you want to separate your terms by checking or unchecking the check boxes below.  Endnote comes to you with one or two of these options already checked, but you can change those if you wish.  I like to use forward slashes, so I tend to uncheck the semi-colons and to add a check next to the  “/” box.  Once you have the separators you want, you have completely defined your new list, and you can either create another one or just click OK and leave this screen.

-- Link theTerm Lists to Fields  

You would think that, if you have a term list with author names, or source names, or key words, that these terms would refer to the fields in your form that have these same names. But EndNote does not automatically assume that your term lists are linked to particular fields, so you need to tell it to do that. You need to manually tell it that you want your “notes” term list linked to your “notes” field, that your “type of work” term list is linked to your “type of work” field, and so forth.

In Endnote 4-6, click Terms–>Link Lists. 
In Endnote 7-8, click Tools--Link term lists
Or, in Endnote 7-8, click Terms--> define lists-->Link Lists

The resulting dialogue box lists all your fields and provides a pull-down menu of term lists next to each one.  So find the term lists that you want to associate with each one and put them there. 

Point of Interest: In this box and a few others, fields retain their original names.  So if you have taken the "label" field and re-named it to be “sources," it will still be called "Label" in this dialogue box. Don't be confused by this. Link it to the term list you have called “sources” by clicking on the down-arrow and selecting that term list.

Once these lists are matched to the relevant fields, every new term you add to either the list or the field will automatically be added to your the other one. But if you want, you can also add terms manually, like this:

In Endnote 4-6, click Terms–> Open–>
In Endnote 7-8, click Tools --> Open term list

This gives you a list of all the term lists you have created, and you can click on one to view it.  You will see an empty window, since you haven’t put any terms in there yet.  Try entering a couple of terms manually, just to feel that you’ve got a start.   Either Press Control-N to get a “new term” window or click on the "new term" button, depending on your version of Endnote.  Enter a term of your choice and hit enter, and this term will appear on your list.

There is just one more detail left:

--Enable auto-fill

This final step makes entering data a lot quicker because it tells EndNote to automatically fill in anything you start to write.  So if one of your sources is your advisor, and you are getting a lot of recommendations from him or her, all you will write under “source” is the first one or two letters, and Endnote will automatically fill in the rest for you.  This helps if your advisor is Dr.  Anagnostopolous. This step is easy. 

Click Edit–>preferences–term lists. 

Make sure all three boxes are checked.  End of story.  If you find later on that you don’t like this feature, you can turn it back off again.


  More on EndNote


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