at The Evergreen State College

Profession Specific Programs

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While there are few bibliographic management services that cater to specific professions, there are highly respected and used sites that are non-compatible with certain softwares. The nature of the Medical and Legal fields means there are a vast number of profession specific publications which are often referred to in journal articles and case briefs. People working in these fields often have giant lists of sources and are most in need of some way to organize them. Many of the traditionally popular bibliographic management softwares are not compatible with the journals most used by doctors and lawyers.

Neither Westlaw or Nexis are compatible with the current English language version of Zotero. Since Zotero is open source software, users are able to attempt to rig the softwares to automatically import source data from these sites, but it is often glichy and doesn't work well. The problem is not with the software itself, but the propriatary nature of Westlaw and Nexis. Those companies require people to subscribe to them in order to access the information, much like JStor. The closely guarded information available from Westlaw and Nexis are not open to the public for free use, and because of that, they are not compatible with the integrated import or export functions. There have been studies to see what percentage of cited materials from articles were searchable online and able to be accessed by the public and roughly 77% of the sources had public access. This number is likely to increase in the future as search functions and bibliographic management becomes more intertwined.

Reference Manager 10 is the most compatible with the JAMA, the Journal of the American Medican Association as well as specific publishers like the American Pediatric Society.

This topic has been extremely difficult to research with any real authority as most of the complaints about incompatibility take place on forums on sites I do not have access to. I understand the need for companies like Westlaw and Nexis to protect their propriatary information, but it should really be available to everyone.

Works Sited

Availability of Works Cited in Recent Law Review Articles on LEXIS, Westlaw, the Internet, and Other Databases by Simon Canick