Browsing your university library’s stacks can be an overwhelming experience. That’s why it’s so amazing that the right apps can shrink all that information down to fit on your smartphone or iPad, making paper writing a snap.
Here are a handful of must-have apps to help with every step of that next big research paper, from initial research and note taking to organizing your sources and your thoughts. They can even help with the final step: the dreaded bibliography.
AccessMyLibrary School Edition: Maybe you just had to go home for the weekend or you’ve developed an allergy to all those dusty old volumes. Whatever the reason you can’t get to your school library for initial research, this app has you covered. Simply find your university in the list, enter its password (which you can obtain with a quick call or email to your library staff), and you have access to all your library’s online resources 24/7 – that’s journals, newspapers, magazines and more. This app is compatible with Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Papers: This app bills itself as “your personal library of research.” You can use it to search for, download and then file journal articles and research papers. It’s known mostly for its ability to categorize, tag and store all the sources you need, but you can also use it to find new sources because it has eight built-in search engines, including big ones like JSTOR, Pubmed and Google Scholar. It has been available for Mac and all Apple mobile devices for a while. Now, maker Mekentosj has announced a Windows pre-release which is pricey, but student discounts are available.
Mendeley: This app has been called iTunes for journal articles. So, once you’ve found all the sources you need to write your paper, this app will help you organize them. Mendeley also allows you to share your folders of journal articles and book chapter PDFs with others – a real perk if you’re working on a group project. This app is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Notebooks: If you have your sources, now it’s time to take notes. Luckily, it may have never been easier, thanks to this app. It helps you organize your notes in a number of different ways and plays nicely with many other apps and devices, making it easy to import and export at will. You can also use it as a task manager to keep track of all those outstanding “to do’s” before turning your finished masterpiece in to the professor. Compatible with iPhone and iPad.
iThoughts: Geared to visual thinkers who can only go so far with written notes, this app – with the slogan “Mindmapping for the iPhone and iPad” – serves as your own mini bulletin board or whiteboard. After you’ve done your research and taken notes, use this app to sketch out your main ideas and how they relate to each other. It can be helpful to ensure your paper expresses your thoughts in a logical succession that impresses your professor. Remember, what scores points in higher education isn’t just reporting somebody else’s ideas but using them to synthesize your own.
EasyBib: Every college student knows that exhausted feeling as you type the last sentence of your term paper. You may be happy to be done, but then the grim realization sets in: you have to do the “works cited” section. With EasyBib, you can scan the barcode of each reference and it spits out a perfect citation in MLA, APA or Chicago style. It works best with the iPhone 4, but can also be used with iPad and iPod Touch. You just have to be sure to hold the camera on those devices super still and at the right distance to effectively scan barcodes.
There you have it! Six apps to help you write an entire research paper, start to finish, on your smartphone or other favorite mobile gadget. We’re not recommending avoidance of your university library, but it is nice to know you have options.
Erin Palmer is a contributor to U.S. News University Directory a leading resource for information technology degrees, certification courses and online MIS degree programs from accredited colleges. For more information please visit http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.comPS: Digging this story, news or review? Let us know! Comments open.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is a professional self-employed blogger and the founder / owner of Technology Blogged. 22, with a love for good writing, you'll find me playing 'Drag Racing' on my HTC One X and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to my feed for unique editorials. Find me on Google+. View author profile.