Anyone who’s ever authored a research paper will tell you that writing it is only half the battle: you also have to get your references right. Research Information Systems’ ProCite 4.02 can’t do the writing for you, but it can take the drudgery out of copying and formatting references.
Like Niles Software’s EndNote 3.0 (see Reviews, July 1998), ProCite is a combination reference-database manager and bibliography formatter. ProCite’s 45 data fields accommodate any kind of reference work, from journal articles to patent information. You can enter references manually, using templates called workforms, or import them from delimited text files or EndNote libraries. Predefined configuration files also let you import tagged reference data from online or CD-ROM-based sources such as MEDLARS and Ovid. Unlike EndNote, ProCite doesn’t let you search online reference libraries directly; alas, a companion product that accesses online databases isn’t available for the Mac.
ProCite’s list view is much more flexible than EndNote’s. You can display up to six fields, and you can sort the database by clicking on any column header. An optional pane on the left lists all the authors, titles, journals, or keywords in your database. Another feature lets you assign any subset of records to a group, so you don’t have to create a new database for every project.
Like EndNote, ProCite includes a software module that lets you insert citations into a document as you’re writing, but only ProCite lets you search for references without leaving your word processor. When you’re finished, you can format the in-text citations and generate a bibliography based on one of 300-plus predefined styles. If the predefined styles don’t include the style of the publication you’re writing for, you can create a new style.
Unfortunately, ProCite’s plug-in is compatible only with Microsoft Word 6 and 98if you use any other word processor, you have to cut and paste references into the document and rely on your word processor to format them and create the bibliography. And you’re out of luck if you have an iMac without an add-on floppy drive: ProCite ships only on floppy disks (although the company says you can request a CD-ROM version).
Macworld’s Buying Advice
ProCite and EndNote each sport features the other lacks, but ProCite 4.02’s strengths as a database manager make it an excellent choice for anyone who has to work with a large number of references.