By Jonathan Ceresa
When writing a paper or creating an academic or professional document, market research indicates that the most time consuming part is doing the actual research on the topic. The most despised task in this process is the tedious act of storing information from separate sources and then citing them properly. Rather than organizing their thoughts in a coherent and efficient manner, students often find themselves wasting energy cutting and pasting facts into Word documents, making it difficult to maintain their flow and concentration on the paper itself. Existing software lack simplicity and require extensive training, often making them inefficient for the average student to use.
Citelighter is an intuitive online research platform that enables students and professionals to quickly find and record facts, automatically cite sources, and write better papers/documents. Citelighter is also incredibly useful for individuals doing more basic (non-academic) research like preparing to purchase a car, planning a trip, preparing for an interview, etc.
Getting started with Citelighter is easy. Sign up for an account at www.citelighter.com and quickly install the Firefox toolbar (I've been told that Chrome and Safari are coming soon). Once you have the toolbar installed you can surf the net for the relevant information that you want to add to your paper or research project. You then highlight the information that you want to cite and press the "Capture" button on the Citelighter toolbar. All of the bibliographic info will be captured and stored for you automatically. You can continue to gather your information this way, either from the Internet or from other sources like Google Books, or even offline journals. Citelighter lets you keep all your research information in one centralized location, all while automatically formatting your bibliographic information in MLA, APA or Chicago citation style. Watch this instructional video from Citelighter, which can explain the process infinitely better than I can.
The Bottom line: In a day and age when time increasingly comes at a premium, having certain tools to help you with more mundane tasks are a lifesaver. While it seems that they're still in beta, from what I've seen of it, the pros vastly outweigh the cons, and Citelighter is a tool that should be in every student's bag of tricks.