MicroSoft Word 2007 Makes Research Documentation Easier Than Ever

Dr. M. H. Hill, Physical and Earth Sciences, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL


A new feature of MS Word 2007 is the reference capability. The references ribbon controls table of contents, footnotes, citations, and captions. Footnotes have been functional in the past, and control the insertion of parenthetical information. The new feature is the dynamic citation ability. When needing to write papers that require reference citations, this capability is essential. The time and trouble saved justify using MS Word 2007. An essential proof is that I was a WordPerfect user before I discovered this capability.

First, set the style to the required format. In here we will use Turabian. Choose Turabian from the drop down list on the References ribbon under Style. Several of the documents posted in this forum were generated in APA format. All I had to do to revise the style was change that source! No new typing; no new data entry.

After typing a quote, you need to enter the citation information. Click on the references tab and then the insert citation icon. Choose Add New Source. Under Type of Source choose the correct document type, for example, book. This shows that you the needed information.

For a book, you must absolutely have an author, title, year, city, and publisher. These are the absolutely required pieces of information. Enter the last name of the author followed by a comma and then the first name. If the book has two authors, use a semi-colon, and type the last name followed by a comma and the first name of the next author. Continue to fill in all of the information for the authors. If it is a Corporate Author, click the check box and type the name of the corporation. One fault of the current version is that authors with two word last names, such as von Humboldt, Alexander, will not function correctly. Type it as Humboldt, Alexander von. If it is one author, you can fake it by using the corporate author, but that may present other problems. The other information is typed into the appropriate boxes.

If you know Turabian and other citation format styles, you will realize that other information may be required. Click on the Show All Bibliography Fields. (And if anyone finds out how to make it default to opening this, I would like to learn this option.) The absolutely required information is now marked by red asterisks. But, if your book is not the first edition, for example, the Edition information is entered in the next to last box. (I, also, would like to know if the comment information can be printed somehow.)

If you have an author who published two books in the same year, you will need to enter Short Title names if you do not want the full title to show in your document. If you need to enter the state for the publisher, this information becomes available with the extension of the data form as well.

If you are referencing a chapter in an edited work, choose book section. For journal article, you will need to expand the form. Journal articles always require volume and issue information when available. Unfortunately, they have not yet expanded these options for web referenced journals, so I will not require that information if the sources are from library subscription sources! Turabian does require Standard Numbers when available, but I will waive that requirement. I have recognized a few other holes, such as the inappropriateness of aspects of the interview entries, but these should not likely impact this class.

The web site type source and document from website are similar. You are usually going to be citing a document from a website or using the fully extended website type source. Note that these require the name of the web page or the title of the document, AND the name of the Web Site. The Name of the Web Site appears in the TITLE BAR of the Browser Window. For example, this page says Blackboard Academic Suite. This is important information if you need to do a search for this website. That is one of the pieces of information that is readily searched by search engines. Having that exactly formatted information will assist in relocating the site if the URL is incorrectly typed. It may repeat the title or the URL, but include it! Copy and paste the URL into the black. Do not try to type it. Be sure to put the dates from the web page and the date that you accessed it. Supply other information as appropriate.

Electronic source does not refer to computer websites. This means some other format such as CD or DVD disk, tapes, or other published materials. You will not likely use that option for this course.

After entering the appropriate information, click OK, and the reference will appear in the text. Click on the reference, click on the drop down, and choose Edit Citation. Type the page number(s). If you discover an error in your original typing of the source, right click on entry, and choose Edit Source. You can then update what you have entered.

After entering several different references, you may want to reuse one of the previously cited works. Click on Insert Citation, and you will find the list of all of the previously entered references. Simply choose the appropriate one, and the reference will again be entered. Click on it and choose Edit Citation to add the page reference.

If you have written a previous document on your computer system and entered references, they are stored in your system. (FYI: On my system they are stored in c:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Microsoft\Bibliography\sources.xml, and I spent considerable time looking for that information.) This file keeps ALL of the references you have typed in one document for future use. You do not need to retype that information! So, if you want to reuse a reference from a previous document, on the References tab, click Manage Sources. It will access this "hidden" file of past input. On the Current List, you will find the sources that are included in the current document. If it is checked, your work already contains a reference to it. Under Search, at the top, enter the author's last name for Sort by Author or the Title, etc. It will then show you a selection from the list. Highlight the appropriate work on the left and then click copy to send it to the list on the right. You can send several different ones at the same time. Note that if you see an error in the entry, you can edit from this dialog box, and you can view the full entry at the bottom in case you need to verify which choice is the correct one.

I will mention, also, that when you are adept at using these tools, you can copy the base source document list file and move it to another system. To access it, choose the Browse button near the top of the dialog box. So, you can bring in other files of these source lists!

Once the source has been added to the paper, then choose Insert Citation, and choose it from the list. Be sure to add the page number.

When you have finished typing your paper and are ready to generate the bibliography, move your cursor to the end of your paper. On the References tab, click Bibliography and choose Bibliography (I prefer this to Works Cited). Your Bibliography should only include works that you have cited. The Bibliography will be generated and inserted.

If you subsequently edit the paper and add or change a source, click on the bibliography within the paper, and at the top, the tab provides the option to update the bibliography. That will make any and all changes needed to the references and the bibliography. For example, if you were working in another document and found a typographical error in the name of an author, you could come back to this document and click update, and it would fix that error throughout the paper.

Adequately citing your references has never been this easy! It's always been a requirement, but now it is about as near to "painless" as it can get. Use this for all of your posts through this class and you will save yourself time and trouble, improve your scholarship, and have a useful resource for future work.

Between MS Word 2007 and Google Scholar, scholarship and term papers have never been so easy! You don't have to know whether you need a period here or a comma there. MS Word takes care of that for you. I care about having the information in there. It tells you what you need! Complete documentation is required, not just expected. Learn to use these tools and get it right.