Monday, November 20, 2006

does it really have to be this complicated?

i last week started to use EndNote, and though I can appreciate that this software tool will save me lots of time in the long-run (and has done so for those who swear by it), i walked away last week from some training, and subsequent self-directed online training, asking myself "why, from a usability point-of-view, does the learning curve have to be so steep?" in learning to use the software, my level of irritation was such that i actually felt insulted. seriously.

well, we can say "it is a new type of system, so its modus operandi is foreign to me". but it isn´t that. did the manufacturers just anticipate that brainy types would use their software, and so the sheer unnecessary complexity of the software design wasn´t ever fully considered? i´m baffled.

there are some good self-help resources online. for instance, see

but what struck me in the above, were the exceptions, the "avisos", the things not to do so that you would get the software to effect the desired outcome in your research document.


"You should only use a single EndNote library for each Word document you work on. It is okay to use the same EndNote library for two or more Word documents, but do not use two or more EndNote libraries for a single Word document"

"When entering a corporate author in EndNote, you must follow it with a comma. Otherwise, EndNote attempts to treat it as an individual author name."

"If you need to add page numbers to a book citation, click anywhere in the in-text citation (the background of the citation should turn grey to show it is selected), then from the Tools menu, Endnote, select Edit Citation(s), or use the button on the EndNote toolbar.
You must add the page numbers to the Suffix field. The Pages field is only for footnote styles."

hhhhhmmmm. when reading the above, it became clear that i had reached my fill of endnote training for the day.

what´s the moral of the story (it isn´t just an aimless rant, after all):

web-based services have evolved to a point where they generally have greater ease-of-use than standalone software. so much so that it seems to me that, as a consequence, the bar has been raised by web-software developers, in the usability stakes, for 3rd party software development. this has been to the extent where stand-alone appplications will have to be developed with the user, not only in mind, but uppermost, if they are to remain current (i.e. in business). with daily use of the web, user-expectations vis-a-vis how applications serve them, are evolving to the point where 3rd party software vendors will not get away with foisting a so-so designed software product into the marketplace.


At Tue Nov 21, 04:14:00 AM GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out is a web-based bibliographic program that runs in your browser. It is free at many colleges and universities, and very easy to use.


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