Paul Kiddie

What does Word 2010 offer for reference management?

June 05, 2010

I’ve been having a bit of a play with Word 2010 since its release on MSDN to see if any improvements have been made in the area of reference management. Unfortunately it seems not a great deal has changed. So, instead, here’s a feature wish-list and how you can get by currently on some of the points by using Word (both Word 2007 and Word 2010) and some third party tools for all your referencing and citation needs:

  1. Support for citing as parenthesised and non-parenthesized references like in LaTeX. Unfortunately Word only supports the former, which is fine when citing references numerically, but it does not provide the flexibility which is important for Harvard author, date referencing. There is no automatic workaround that I am aware of to assist in this.
  2. Search and import citations into the Source Manager via common Internet repositories such as ieeexplore, citeseer, Google Scholar etc, or provide a mechanism by which this functionality can be plugged in. I’m currently using JabRef as my reference manager which provides a search of these libraries.
  3. A larger selection of bibliographic styles provided out of the box. In the meantime, BibWord, available on Codeplex, has a number of alternative bibliographic styles, including variations of Harvard style referencing.
  4. Make it easier to cite multiple authors within the text. Currently, the process is a little clunky.
  5. Import other bibliographic formats natively. I use JabRef as a middleman to store citations as it is able to deal with citations in a number of formats (Endnote, .ris, .bib etc). I then export the JabRef library into a Word 2007 XML bibliography. See my article on how to export a bib using Jabref into XML format in order to read it into Office 2007/2010.
  6. Offer a search when inserting citations so if an author/author tag or some other information about the reference  is known, you can filter the list without having to scroll through a (potentially long) list of citations.
  7. Sort the performance issues when rendering extremely large reference lists. To mitigate any performance issues you can export just the citations you need to Office XML format (see 5.) from within Jabref, rather than your entire library.

👋 I'm Paul Kiddie, a software engineer working in London. I'm currently working as a Principal Engineer at trainline.