Clued up! Online skills for the 21st Century student


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Using this site

The middle section of each page introduces the topic and contains videos and slideshows, both from our students here at London Met and from around the web, designed to get you thinking...

In the right-hand column you'll find Practical Steps you can take and further reading and advice which you might find useful in Read more about it.

Learn more:
The eight links above cover all the aspects of this website. Please bookmark and revisit the site, as we are constantly adding new materials and information.


What are online reference managers?

Your tutors and lecturers have probably stressed the importance of correct referencing in your written work, but, however organised we are in theory, the Bibliography or Reference List is often left until the last minute...

Fortunately, there are lots of tools available which, with a little practice, will more or less write your references for you. Reference managers such as Zotero, EndNote or Mendeley do all the hard work and mean you don’t need to spend hours typing out references manually, or searching for that URL or online journal article you’ve forgotten. Many of them also allow you to highlight parts of the texts you read and make notes which will be automatically saved so you can view them again later. Which one you choose is really a matter of personal preference – the resources in this collection will help get you started. Once you master one of these tools, you will definitely wonder how you managed your student life without it…



In this video some London Metropolitan students talk about the way they've used online tools for referencing.


What do Reference Managers actually do?

As you do your research in preparation for an assignment, presentation, case study or any other type of assessment, you'll come across lots of online sources of information such as journal articles and research papers, ebooks and so on. Being able to store what you find, annotate articles with your own ideas and automatically generate references to include in your own work can help you study and learn more efficiently, and ultimately lead to improvement in your work and better grades. There are many online services and apps out there which can help you. For a better idea of what they actually do, have a look at this presentation from one of the best-known sites, Zotero, or this one from Mendeley.



This mobile App, 'Reference Me' is great for getting your references from a book etc. TRY IT OUT!

Practical Steps you can take

· Think ahead! Experiment with a few reference managers early in the academic year and find one that you're comfortable with well before the deadline for your first assignment.

· Make sure you check with your tutors exactly which style of referencing you need to use (e.g. Harvard, MHRA, APA, Numeric etc.) There are many different styles and which one you need to use will depend on your subject area, among other things. If you are new to referencing, and don’t know the difference between a citation, a reference and a bibliography, have a look at this simple introduction to referencing from the Open University.

· Zotero is best used with Mozilla Firefox (it was originally designed for this browser). However, if you don't use Firefox, you can use it with other browsers. To find out how, visit their Installation page.

· To start using Mendeley, sign up and visit their extensive help pages.

· Whichever reference manager you choose, it's worth learning how to sync it across your various devices. Both Zotero and Mendeley have mobile apps which you can use to access your research on the go.


Read more about it

A short and sweet guide to reference managers from Cambridge University Library.

A very useful blog post from Oxford University's Bodleian Library and a set of screencasts from Zotero to help you get started managing your references.

An article from Guardian Technology about how you can boost your productivity as a student. Some useful links.

For more about Referencing in general, have a look at the London Met Library Matters module (Weblearn: for London Met students only).



Searching the internet effectively is a skill that needs to be learnt. Taking a bit of time to enhance your skill will pay dividends in the long term.