Does anybody remember the painstaking process of creating a bibliography by hand? Or how about a time when you had to leaf through a stack of books akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa to collect all the information needed for a report? These days, kids and college students alike need only power up a computer to have the world’s collected knowledge at their fingertips. It’s truly a brave new world of technological mastery. Okay, hold the phone for just a second here. As anyone who has perused blogs and websites of late is probably aware, there is a lot of misinformation floating around on the internet just waiting to catch the unwary student in a web (no pun intended) of deceit. Some people post stuff without verifying if it is accurate while others delight in the prospect of feeding the public lies just to see if anyone will buy it. And then there is Wikipedia, an open-source compendium of information on every topic, except that it may or may not be true (readers beware).
It is for this reason that many educators still won’t allow students to use online sources for research (unless they happen to be highly respected publications like, say, the New England Journal of Medicine, for example). And since teachers still require bibliographies to ensure that students have done their research, most pupils still have to haul around an MLA, APA, or Chicago style guidebook to refer to when doing citations. But here the EasyBib application can help. By simply using the camera on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, any student can get access to proper citations on the spot. Here’s how the app can work for you.
The process is actually relatively simple in its inception, although it is rather broad in its scope. You’ll start by finding the barcode on your book and scanning it with the app (via the camera on your device). The app will then call up the citation information and all you have to do is choose whether you want it in MLA, APA, or Chicago style. It’s pretty much just as easy as it sounds. But what if the barcode won’t scan? In this case you can search by title to find the citation you’re looking for to add it to your list. From there all you have to do is email yourself the list so you can tack it on to your essay as a complete bibliography (although you’re on your own for in-text citations).
Unfortunately, this tool is limited to printed materials, so you’ll still have to reference your guidebook for online citations. But considering that many teachers allow only limited use of websites as sources (if they allow it at all) this app could just become one of your favorites during the course of your education. And whether you’re still trying to finish high school, you’re pursuing a BA in English, or you’re considering MPA degree programs, EasyBib will ensure that you deliver complete and accurate bibliographies with ease for every report you turn in. For a free app, you couldn’t ask for more than that.