Upping her Game with EndNote

Nancy Glassman was already working full-time as the nancy_glassmanassistant director for informatics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City – and working on her second master’s degree –
when she was invited to write a chapter in a textbook. 

“The textbook was about health sciences librarianship,” says Glassman, who earned her first master’s degree in library sciences at Kent State. Her chapter dealt specifically with technology services in the health sciences library field, and she knew it was a rare opportunity.

“Textbooks don’t get published very often,” she says. Adding to the appeal of the proposition is that she would have the chance to work with M. Sandra Wood, the book’s editor and someone she respected and had enjoyed working with on other projects.

Writing a textbook chapter is a big challenge, Glassman explains – and this was something she had never tackled before. She knew fitting it into her already-packed schedule would be a challenge.

“If you’re writing a chapter in a textbook, you’re not creating new knowledge. You’re not reporting on your own research like a paper in a journal,” she explains. “You’re taking the information that’s out there and distilling it for the reader, giving the reader the opportunity to follow up and learn more in whatever direction they’re interested in. Everything in the textbook comes from something somebody else has written.”

That means references in a textbook are extensive – and critical. “There’s an extensive literature search, references and then citing them according to the style the textbook requires,” Glassman says. In her case, five pages of her 20-page chapter were devoted to references. She says she relied upon EndNote, which she had used for more than 10 years and had even taught classes on, to make the process seamless.

“I was already familiar with it, so I didn’t have to learn anything new,” she says.

 

Rich features, faster research

Glassman says she found the EndNote syncing capability particularly useful.

“The sync feature was really important [because] I could work on it at work, synchronize it in the cloud, then go home – and everything matched,” she says. “I didn’t have to carry around a USB stick with my references.”

Another EndNote feature Glassman found invaluable was its ability to annotate PDFs, which she stored in her EndNote database. That made it easier for her to pull out the information needed from specific references when it was time to write each section, she says. In addition, the EndNote “find reference update” feature helped her when she imported references from Google Scholar that had missing elements, she says, by providing a more fleshed-out reference in her library.

Glassman also liked being able to group and rate references. “I could create a group set for the book, then individual groups for the different areas,” she explains. “I had 239 references that I didn’t necessarily include, but that I found.” Using groups allowed her to break those references up into areas such as electronic health records, mobile devices, research data management, security and systems. “I could put them into pigeonholes so it was easier than scanning through 239 references, or even do a search.”

Handling 239 references also made EndNote’s ability to rate them on a scale of zero to five stars useful. “Originally I couldn’t figure out why it was necessary,” Glassman recalls. But ultimately it helped her keep track of which of her references were most relevant and needed to be included. “If I used five stars, it was a must-have,” she says. “No stars, I knew I didn’t care so much about it. And I could sort on that field so I could put all the important ones together. That was my little ‘aha’ for the project.”

Altogether, EndNote let Glassman really focus on her writing, she says. By the time spring came around, she had completed her degree as well as her textbook – and, thanks to EndNote, she says, she still had her job and her sanity.

 

EndNote is full of surprises and features you may not have known about.  Check out this blog post for tips on how to make the most out of EndNote.