Monday, October 09, 2006

Review of r-library

A new software, called “r-library" ($14.95 US) by Riveted claims to be “Your ultimate research tool.” But it is little more than an enhanced web browser. In “r-library,” you can browse the internet, save webpages, highlight these webpages and take notes on them. But, it doesn’t appear to work with Portable Document Format (PDF) files. It provides a “citation creator,” but you still have to enter all the citation information into it. There are already free citation generators, like NoodleTools' NoodleBib that do this for free. Its primary sources are free internet sites. It completely ignores library tools in favor of and Wikipedia. The only online database it links to is Questia, available for personal subscriptions. It does nothing to lead researchers to databases available for free from the library.

You can create a report from your saved webpages which includes the text you highlighted, source information (including the date you saved the page) and your notes. In the tutorial, the section on “Generating Reports” states, “You can now copy & paste any of the information or save it as a text file or .doc file.” Um, isn’t that plagiarism?!

Sure, if you take the time to read the “Acceptable Use Policy," you learn that Riveted “will attempt to terminate service to anyone who we become aware is repeatedly using our services in violation of copyright law.” But plagiarists have no fear! In the policy, Riveted admits that it does not police and “IT IS YOUR SOLE RESPONSIBILITY TO USE THE SERVICES IN COMPLIANCE WITH ALL APPLICABLE COPYRIGHT LAWS.” Capitalization is theirs.


-Save, highlight, and take notes on a webpage
-Generate reports of the above which include date of access (important for citing)

-Doesn’t work with PDFs
-Promotes poor research skills
-Encourages plagiarism

This is a commercial product with no academic value. I like the idea, but the product as it is now will only appeal to the lazy student who doesn’t know better. It could be used with the databases, but I would not recommend it to the average student. Free trail available at

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