EndNote and competing bibliographic software packages are an awesome contribution to the scientific enterprise. Let's just get that straight. I am a huge fan. I've run across colleagues as recently as the past 2 years who do not use such products and I absolutely. cannot. believe. they. are. such. Luddites!
Endnote version X2, however, pulls a Microsoft-esque blunder in screwing with one of the fundamental features dear to this user. And they have the nerve to tell others who complained that it is the user who is just not giving this kewl new approach a chance! 'sclowns...
The fundamental feature change is this. In prior versions of Endnote, one pulled up a little dialog box to perform a PubMed search. Now, it was a bit annoying that you had to put a comma after the last name prior to the initials (because your highly established search behavior on PubMed itself doesn't require the comma to get it right) but that was small stuff. So you'd do a search and EndNote would pull all the retrieved citations into a temporary window. From the temp window, you had the option to dump all, or a selected subset, of the citations into any of your open EndNote Libraries. I don't know about you but the ability to select a subset of citations for importation was a default part of my use of this software feature! I hardly ever have the need to dump all the retrieved citations.
Version X2 removed the temporary window step and just dumps everything into your open library automatically. FAIL!!!!!!
In trying to figure out if there is a setting or something that would restore the old functionality, I ran across this discussion forum over at Thomson Reuters, the parent company.
After a number of user comments to the same effect as mine, above, company flack JasonR posted this comment:
- First, the old, Temporary library model caused much confusion for new/novice users of EndNote. One of our most common Technical Support calls involves users downloading records (into a temp library) and then inserting these into a Word document. Once the temp library is deleted, these references become orphaned. We needed to do something to minimize this on-going confusion.
- Second, last year we spend a lot of time and money on a large-scale usability study leveraging industry-standrad methodologies and involving many users. The Onlines Search worflow - multiple windows, copying between databases, etc. was looked at closely and earned miserable test scores - again, we needed to do something to try to improve this. As part of this study, we asked users to point to other software that they use in their daily work. We did this and tried to based EndNote work flows on this.
A few questions for the group that might help us improve this workflow further:
- Is the reaction to this change simply that it is different than it has been?
- Is there a search model or other software that has a similar work flow that we should look to as a model for EndNote?
With EndNote X2, it is still very easy to create temporary library to use for remote searching and then copy records into your main library. This is exactly how EndNote used to work - this is just no longer the default behavior.
Typical, absolutely maddening computer software developer response. Screw all you old users and your hidebound ways, we know what is good for you! Whatever. Luckily, the constant drumbeat of complaints (no doubt) caused them to rethink. JasonR again:
We are currently working on adding a Preference to allow one to choose between the EndNote X2 Online Search model and the old "Temporary Library" model. We plan to include this in a free upgrade patch for both Windows and Macintosh this fall.
Okay, the patch is here or you can open the program and select "Endnote Program updates" from the Help menu.
Let's see here....while I'm waiting I might as well review this new forum thread for the update. [Ok at this point I'm live-blogging so I'm hopeful the outcome will invalidate the post title which I wrote when I started this draft about ten days ago.....]
1) hmm, first time I tried to click on a PubMed online search the whole program crashed. Not good. Okay, computer reboot time....
2) finally got it to work. Hate the new integrated window thing that they are so proud of. Doing a PubMed online search disappears your library. The prior multi-window was difficult on a regular screen I acknowledge but at least you could have your windows overlapped and still see some of the authors. Annoying but not super critical. Still, since the search window has been integrated below the regular library view and provides a submenu to specify searching entire library or some three additional options having to do with "showing reference" would it have killed them to simply add "Search PubMed" to that dialog so you could do it directly from the original library window!??!!? I mean, that was actually my biggest problem with the prior versions in that you had to make sure that the Library window was below the online search window or else you'd search your library instead of PubMed.
3) Okay, from the PubMed search window, I can select individual references like before, so far so good. Now, hmm, how do I send them automatically to the open library? Dammit!!! You still can't do it. Why, why, why???? There is a "Copy references to..." on right click or through the References menu but the only options it gives are "New Library" and "Choose library..." which brings up a directory (Windows level) dialog. WTF? More clicking and waiting. Why, o why, couldn't they just have added the capability of listing all of the open libraries (or recent libraries) to the first level after "Copy References to...."?
These things seem so simple to the casual user. The complaints seem overwhelmingly clear in describing the function users would like restored. The vendor goes out of its way to actually respond to the users...and then completely fails to fix the problem.
I don't get this.