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Reference Management: move to Mendeley or Zotero

VCU Libraries will discontinue its subscription to the RefWorks citation management tool as of August 31, 2018. Librarians will be happy to assist faculty with moving references and learning the capabilities of other citation managers such as  Mendeley, Zotero, and EndNote. RefWorks users can continue to use RefWorks for the current academic year, and make the transition at a time that is convenient.

If you plan to transition from RefWorks to Mendeley or use Mendeley already, VCU Libraries has a substantial number of free premium upgrades available to faculty on a first come, first served basis. Contact us to request an upgrade, to learn more or to request instruction for your students.

Along with helping you keep track of the articles you’re reading, reference management software can auto-generate citations and bibliographies and make it easy to share resources with collaborators and students. VCU Libraries offers support for two of the most popular reference managers, Mendeley and Zotero.

Using browser extensions, these tools can quickly save reference information from PubMed, Web of Science, IEEE Xplore Digital Library, Google Scholar and other online databases. Or metadata can be retrieved from imported PDFs. Group libraries allow users to share the full text and associated notes. When writing, both Mendeley and Zotero interact with Word to automatically generate in-text citations and bibliographies. For those using LaTeX, both can generate a BibTeX file.

Base accounts with both these tools are free and VCU Libraries has 500 free Mendeley upgrades available to faculty upon request.

Contact VCU Libraries to learn more

By Martha Roseberry, science and engineering research librarian

MathSciNet: New features expand ease-of-use

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MathSciNet, the primary databases for mathematical sciences literature, offers some new features.

  • Search results can now be sorted by publication date, journal title or number of citations.
  • New facets allow users to filter and refine results by item type, author, institution, journal, date and primary classification.

The AMS has announced that more upgrades are on their way, including search alerts. When this feature arrives, users will be able to get notifications about author citation counts, new issues and new results to saved searches.

For complete details about the changes

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By Martha Roseberry, science and engineering research librarian

Image: E8 Petrie projection by Jgmoxness

Engineering Village and Knovel searches

The integration between Engineering Village and Knovel makes it possible for researchers to move their searches from one to the other to find both basic and background information and peer-reviewed articles on the same topic.

When starting from Knovel, perform your search (e.g. “density of h2”).Search Knovel

View the results in an interactive table.

View Resultsshot3

To transfer the search to Engineering Village, click the link at the bottom of the menu on the left.


The search box will be automatically populated.


To move from Engineering Village to Knovel, use corresponding link, also at the bottom of the menu on the left.


By Ibironke Lawal, engineering and science collections librarian

The Vernacular Tradition: A video account of math manuscripts

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The Vernacular Tradition
James Branch Cabell Library Storage
QA21 .V47 1987

This video gives a fascinating narration
of early mathematics text written in the vernacular language. The Vernacular Tradition, as the title implies, explores the translation of mathematics written with practical application to everyday life. It gives an account of problem solving using mathematical methods. One example is the system of double-entry bookkeeping used in accounting.

Two remarkable works are mentioned in the video, one Greek and one Italian. The Italian work, Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita, written by Luca Pacioli, was published in 1494. The narrator takes the viewer through translations of this rare book, which is in the collection of the Cambridge University Library. Hearing and following the narrator through the chapters of this remarkable Renaissance scholarly work is the next best thing to reading the book itself.

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By Ibironke Lawal, engineering and science collections librarian

Image: Creative Commons