I was looking for a citation/reference manager only to later realize we have RefWorks at the library (see my review process here: http://mlsci.blogspot.com/2010/02/reference-management-software.html ). Yet I wonder how much the library is paying for RefWorks that could’ve been used to keep or expand the magazine subscriptions instead.
I suggest you look into supporting something that’s free, like CiteULike (which is sponsored by Springer, by the way), which is what I’m using now. An upshot of CiteULike is students who finish their studies at SFU can keep using the same site for reference managing as they move on to other schools or work for free.
Maybe RefWorks is “better” on a features count, but I’d rather the library subscribe to more magazines than pay for something that has comparable free alternatives. Maybe RefWorks is essentially free because of the library’s subscriptions to some journal collections, but I’d rather *I* don’t have to pay for it when I move on from SFU.
Just a thought. Thanks.
A: Thank you for writing. We are always working to balance costs of collections with other costs, including the products that support students’ and faculty’s work with these collections. At the time we first purchased RefWorks, there were fewer alternatives than there are now, but as you point out, the environment has changed a great deal since then, and we are keeping an eye on free and low-cost product options, including CiteULike and Zotero. If and when we make a change, we will also need to keep in mind the impact of a switch on the more than 12,000 members of the SFU community who currently have RefWorks accounts.
To address your question about keeping your information after leaving SFU, you may not know that SFU alumni continue to have free access to their RefWorks after graduation. We have more information for SFU alumni at:
http://www.lib.sfu.ca/faqs/when-i-graduate-from-sfu-can-i-continue-to-use-my-sfu-refworks-account ; and for others who are no longer at SFU (including faculty and staff) at:
Head, Reference Division