Looking for an inexpensive holiday gift to give to that college student that doesn’t enjoy citing sources as much as you do?
EasyBib (www.easybib.com) is an online bibliography generator that helps users search for websites, books, or other materials and create citations for those sources, formatted to MLA standards (for free) or to APA or Chicago styles (for a fee). Once the bibliography is complete, EasyBib offers a nice range of output options, including export to Word or Google Docs.
Based on some thoroughly unscientific testing, EasyBib performs at its best on website sources. It pulls in article title, author, and date information at the push of a button. For journals (print or online) or other more traditional research formats, however, EasyBib is a little less intuitive. It is hard to say what bibliographic indices EasyBib is searching, and the ranking is a bit confusing; a search for a recent Law Library Journal article yielded a hodgepodge of results.
Nonetheless, when EasyBib cannot find a source and generate its citation automatically, it offers a handy guided form for entering the necessary bibliographic details, then outputs the citation to one of the major citation styles. So a user is no worse off than had she or he used Microsoft Word’s native citation tools or any other online bibliography guide (e.g., Son of Citation Machine).
EasyBib, which has been available for about five years, now also offers to institutional/school partners a suite of research and information literacy tools, including virtual notecards, footnote, and parenthetical formatting output options, and even guidelines for website evaluation. (These premium features were not reviewed.)
Don’t put the Bluebook or ALWD away just yet, though: EasyBib does not offer legal citation formats in the free or premium version. But for wading through the rest of the citation universe, EasyBib is a fast, friendly tool.
MLA style only: Free
APA, Chicago style and additional tools: $4.99/month, $14.99/6 months, $19.99/year; institutional rates also available
iPhone app: Free