Do you remember Harvard referencing and building lengthy bibliographies during your student days? If yes, did you find it time consuming? Yep, thought so, did you ever use the techniques again (presuming you’ve not continued in academia)? No? Didn’t think so.
Even if we’re kind to academic referencing it is, at best, a necessary evil to show the development of research skills and the correct representation of ideas (i.e. to avoid plagiarism). I’ve been to two events this week, the first on Adobe products will get a longer post but the second, on RefME, showed how a tool can go viral with users if it is really well targeted on solving an actual problem.
RefME has built a following of more than one million users quicker than Facebook or Twitter – all thanks to the humble citation! Why? Well those negative experiences of citation and bibliography building are now finally tackled through this very easy to use app.
When I studied there were some tools in this space, some institutionally backed, but none as easy as RefME appears from the demos at the #BLEevent. Overall, I took away a key message here – focus on your audience (whoever they may be) and their challenges/frustrations. If you are facing a lack of adoption with your corporate/institutional technology then it is probably fair to presume that it is (a) not easy enough to use and/or (b) not solving a problem that is felt keenly enough.
It will be interesting to see if any institutions opt to stand against it as a way of students ‘cheating’ by not having to spend hours formatting their own lists … not to mention all the librarians who will have another thing they ‘own’ taken away from them by technology.
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