BILETA Conference, Legal Education, 5

by Paul Maharg on 30/03/2012

Sandy Meredith on ‘A critical look at using referencing software – EndNote Refworks & Zotero – with the OSCOLA style OR does technology inhibit or enhance the writing skills of doctoral students?

What do we want from referencing software?  organized storage of data, dowload of reference data from dbases, input of reference data to footnotes and bibs, choose & change citation styles in footnotes & bibs. Also — ease of use, protability, sustainability, cost.

Set up cost?  Endnote — £70+.  Refworks — sign up online via institution.  Zotero: sign up online & download. Sandy gave us a scale 1-5 on ease of use and Zotero came out impressively.  As I’d expect, having used Citation (OK, nothing great), EndNote (painful tho’ it was four years ago, and corrupted large datasets easily — ugh) and Zotero (best of the rest).

Sandy went through the process of putting references into footnotes & bibs.  Pretty excruciating process — Zotero, again, came out best.

My experience with EndNote — back in 2007, my research assistant and I used it to process around 44pp of references.  Near to submission date, the dbase was corrupted, back up then corrupted — possibly new versioning issue?  Low point in my academic life…  We use Zotero in the LETR project — over 1280 references to date, and we’ll be making the database public at the end of the project.

Antoinette Muntjewerff, from U of Amsterdam, couldn’t make her slot, alas, so Bill Boyd from Arizona U was next up.  He raised the issue of how we document empirically what we do in legal education, particularly for future generations.  Bill is working on a project to do this.  There were issues with the software so we couldn’t see it in more detail.  ProtoGenie, however, was a web-based authoring toolkit for the design and execution of online research experiments.  The suite of research design and execution tools allows users to create experiments covering many types of research design including mixed methods research.  Bill described how there were design ‘genies’ in the ProtoGenie software that would help design educational interventions.

And that was that!  Final paper.  End of BILETA conference for yr intrepid liveblogger/twitterer.  Off to put my fingers in a jug of cold water.


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