Apps for writing and bibliography

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Techichi, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. Techichi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I recently purchased an iMac, taking advantage of the discount on the product and of the £65 gift card student offer. I do a lot of writing for my university course and so far iWork has done the job in a satisfactory manner. However, I'll soon have to work on my final dissertation and possibly on a few academic papers in the future, depending on my job. Furthermore, I had a few questions for you all...

    1) I was looking at various software available on the Mac App Store and Scrivener seems to be among the recommended ones for writers of any kind. In your opinion, would this program be worth purchasing given my writing needs, or would you say it's unnecessary? So far, I got along fine with iWork when dealing with shorter coursework essays but my dissertation might be a slightly more complicated business.

    2) I never used any bibliography software to combine with my writing, despite needing to catalogue and report a fairly numerous amount of references throughout my studies/work. I heard of programs such as EndNote, Papers and Zotero, but just which one would be more suitable for my needs and of better price value?

    3) Are there any other generally recommended apps that I would be able to purchase from the App Store? Which ones can't you live without?

    Thank you in advance for your advice! :)
     
  2. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Traditionalist view

    I would get Microsoft Word and Endnote (although you may prefer to wait a few months for Endnote X5 for Macintosh - announced, but not released). You are likely to get specific training in Endnote on your course or be directed to an alternative so its worth checking beforehand. Building a big library in one and then having to transfer the references (± attachments) is a right pain. Endnote works with Pages, but it is not as easy as when used in Word.

    I have been using Endnote for about 17 years and am familiar with it. The main problems are that they will sometimes release a major update without supporting the next upgrade of the word processor for some time (6 months+) and that it is upgraded almost annually for sometimes relatively minor improvements. Nevertheless it does the job and the portable library system works well. Throughout the current version there has been a bug in which tabbing between fields in new records fails intermittently and I will be checking the next version very carefully.
     
  3. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #3
    Scrivener is quite good depending on what your major is. As some one who has written a thesis in Word and a book in Scrivener...I can say Scrivener destroys word (or pages) for long documents.

    Both Word and Pages are not designed for long documents which is their main downfall.

    However, be warned that Scrivener, as good as it is, was originally designed for Novelists. It will work great for writing a History or English dissertation. If you are a Science or Engineering major, it becomes much more of a head ache as you can't draw figures in it, and importing pictures and images do not format well (you will have to reformat everything in Word or Pages). They are (finally) adding MathType to Scrivener in 2.1 which will make it much more useful for technical writers.

    I don't know anyone who has ever written in Scrivener and gone back to Word or Pages...some (like me) still need to use both however. I do all my writing in scrivener, and all my final document formatting in Word.

    One last option is Adobe PageMaker which is what most large corporations use for large technical manuals. It is (very) expensive, not well supported (its Adobe after all), and a total PITA to learn...but its an option as well..
     
  4. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Pagemaker!!

    >One last option is Adobe PageMaker which is what most large corporations use for large technical manuals. It is (very) expensive, not well supported (its Adobe after all), and a total PITA to learn...but its an option as well..

    Framemaker is the thing if you want to go long document, reliable and expensive - can't be beaten of the applications I have used, but Scrivener, Pagemaker (very dated now), Indesign and Framemaker are hardly practical for most student projects who may need to collaborate with others and will be hugely advantaged by an integrated scientific citation system. If I wasn't placing citations or using numbered paragraphs in long documents I would be tempted to adopt Indesign, beautiful documents and very readable type.
     
  5. Techichi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    #5
    Thank you for your responses! :)
    I think that my opening message might've been a bit misleading...I do write essays and articles but, since they always fall within the field of social sciences, they are rarely as complex as the examples mentioned by ddm219.
    Generally, I'd say that functionality and a not too steep learning curve are what I'm looking for in these programs.
    I downloaded a 30-day trial of Scrivener, so I'll give that a try before purchasing it from the Mac App Store.
     

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