New app for quick and easy referencing

A new app has been launched to help students create a shortcut for fast referencing.  

Federica Baggio

Good news for all KU students as an innovative smartphone application for hyper-fast academic referencing hit the apps market.

Kingston University students were the first in the country to meet ReferenceME, the newborn app that enables its users to reference a book, a journal or a chapter in 30 seconds.

Max Eden, a 22-year-old member of T&Biscuits, the media technology company that launched the application, said: “We came to Kingston on the very first day.

“We were really enthusiastic afterwards because of the very positive feedback we received.”

Over 25,000 downloads

Since they handed out promotional leaflets at KU two weeks ago, the creators of ReferenceME have scored a record of over 25,000 downloads, placing eighth in Google’s daily ranking of the most downloaded apps for education.

Professor Matthew Humphreys, head of the KU Law School, said: “I think it is important that we, both staff and students, try and stay up to date with new technologies.

“Referencing is challenging and inconsistent referencing brings down the quality of the writing unnecessarily.”

The application is designed for androids and iPhones and it will be suitable for Blackberries as well within the next few weeks. It can be downloaded at the cost of 69 pence using iTunes or Google play, with the guarantee that there will be no further usage costs after the purchase.

The procedure is within everyone’s reach. Once they gain some basic expertise, its users should be able to add an unfailing reference to their essay in less than a minute.

Easier referencing for students

The first thing to do is to open ReferenceME and take a picture of the bar code on the back of the book or typing in the related ISBN code (this applies particularly to online journals, which have no bar code).

The app forwards the picture to World Cat, the world’s largest online library catalogue, and receives the necessary information back.

The user is then asked to select the required referencing system among the eight major ones, including Harvard and Oxford and the user will thereafter receive an email or Facebook message with the accurate reference for that particular book or journal.

Mr Eden admitted the app can still improve in terms of customisation. He said that T&Biscuits are working on its flexibility, wishing that students will be able to personalise it and meet their teachers’ requirements, no matter how picky.

“Our aim is to make people’s life easier”, he said.

Mr Eden also said that ReferenceME roused some criticism, especially when he and his team-mates tried to promote it in the mathematics-empires at London School of Economics and University College London.

He said: “Some people there said they though such an app would be a way of cheating in terms of academic writing, because you’re not doing the referencing yourself.

“I think they just didn’t like us for promoting a product in their campuses that they wish they had invented themselves.

“And, honestly, I didn’t feel like I was cheating when I did my dissertation and it took me 30 seconds to scan a book.”

Teachers at Kingston University generally agreed that ReferenceME could provide students a time-saving tool and benefit their academic writing in terms of formatting their referencing. 

They would not discourage students from using the app, although they believe in the importance of maintaining manual referencing skills alive.

 

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