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libraries, citation management, digital natives


In an ideal world, citation management tools save researchers time by keeping content organized and automating rote tasks, a feat made possible by technological progress and a common set of workflows and habits of mind shared by all researchers. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Instead, we live in a world where citation management tools are prone to error, and a wide gulf separates the practices of novice researchers from those of expert researchers. Promoting citation management tools uncritically, without considering how they fit into students’ research processes, may undermine librarians’ ability to effectively help students. This problem may be compounded by the misguided notion that, as digital natives, students should be able to quickly and easily learn to use these tools. This session will explore the potential pitfalls of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to supporting citation management in combination with the problem of treating students as digital natives. The session will also provide participants with insight into how one library engaged with students through focus groups and structured interviews to understand what tools best fit undergraduate research processes and what students actually expect of such tools.


Presented at LibTech 2019 (Library Technology Conference) at Macalester College.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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