The Pros and Cons of a Free Reference Management Tool: Bibliogo

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] A few weeks ago, we looked at a Mendeley, a free reference management and collaboration tool that allows users to search an online catalog of millions of documents.  I was impressed by Mendeley’s online catalog, which in many ways resembled Google Scholar.  The reference manager tool on Mendeley provided some nifty annotation, organization, and collaboration features, but it’s probably not secure enough for use by prior art searchers.  I recently became aware of Bibliogo, another online reference management tool that offers citation and bibliography creation, annotation, and sharing capabilities, as well as the option to subscribe to RSS feeds based on journal updates.  Bibliogo offers both free and premium versions of its reference management tool, and users can sign up for the free version of Bibliogo utilizing an existing account on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Windows Live ID, Twitter, Yahoo!, and other social media accounts.

I decided to compile a quick list of my favorite and least favorite features of the free version of the tool, so after the jump, let’s go take a look at Bibliogo!

What is Bibliogo?

Bibliogo is an online citation and document management tool created by Reprints Desk, Inc., a Derycz Scientific Company. Users can sign up to use Bibliogo for free, but certain features of the tool are only accessible for users subscribed to the premium version of Bibliogo. According to the website, both the free and premium versions of the tool can:

  • Host unlimited numbers of non-collaborative users
  • Create citations and bibliographies
  • Share bibliographies (with up to 3 users through the free version of the tool)
  • Follow journal feeds (including via bookmarklet)
  • Link citations to multiple bibliographies
  • Import citations via upload (and via bookmarklet)
  • Comment, tag & email citations
  • Multitask citation options – order full-text, copy citations to more than one bibliography, delete citation, or export citation
  • Tag bibliographies, and filter bibliographies by tags
  • Get bibliography suggestions for new citations
  • Upload journal article PDFs and other files to share
  • Request quotes for 100+ eprints/reprints
  • Option to have article ordering and price estimates turned on
  • Export citations in RIS file format
  • Export formatted bibliographies in APA, CMS, MLA and many additional formats for use in cited publication references
  • Integration capabilities with other technologies like Article Galaxy, Curata, Outlook, RightSphere, SciVerse, SharePoint, link resolvers and others

Users who subscribe to the premium version of Bibliogo get access to the following additional features:

  • Ability to share bibliographies with unlimited users
  • Publish bibliographies via RSS
  • Additional email domains
  • Account administrator tools & reporting
  • View-only users
  • OpenURL-linkout integration
  • Workgroup PDF sharing (some restrictions apply)
  • Automatic journal subscription holdings checks
  • Option to “Check Re-Use Rights” for any citation
  • Integration with 3rd party document delivery vendors
  • Bibliography and feed imports
  • Preferences for citation and activity display

Users may request more information about the subscription prices for the premium version of the tool through the Bibliogo website.

The Pros of Bibliogo

The best features of the free version of the reference management tool include:

  • A very low learning curve – This tool takes almost no time to learn how to use.  A step-by-step checklist is provided for you as soon as you log on to the site, with basic steps to learn all of Bibliogo’s free features (create a bibliography, create a citation, create a journal feed, etc.).  After you complete a step, it’s crossed off the list. Detailed instructions are provided under every section of the site, directing you on how to use the various features.

Bibliogo provides clear step-by-step instructions on using the site features.

  • The Journal Feed – This tool is provides a fast and easy way to compile a list of recent citations into a formatted bibliography.   Users can begin entering the title for a journal, and a list of suggested titles will automatically appear as the user types.  Users can also paste any RSS feed URL into the text bar and subscribe to that feed to produce a list of the most recent postings. Select any journal article citation or posting citation from the feed to add the citation to a selected bibliography, or order a full-text copy of the citation.

The journal feed allows users to select recent citations to add to a bibliography.

The Cons of Bibliogo

Some of the negative features of the free version of the tool include:

  • No options to order a single copy of a document – Users on the free version of the tool only have the option to order reprints/eprints of a document in bulk (50 or more). If a user wants to order a single copy of a document, they need to sign up for a premium or enterprise account. You can select to turn on “single article ordering” for free, but selecting this option takes the user to a form to sign up for a premium or enterprise account.
  • Limited security options – Like Mendeley, the free version of the site doesn’t appear to have any sort of HTTP Secure connection.
  • Limited sharing option – The free version only allows users to share bibliographies with up to 3 other users.  A user need a premium subscription to share bibliographies with unlimited users.


Bibliogo seems to have a much simpler user interface than Mendeley, but Bibliogo lacks the expansive online catalog and the free PDF sharing capabilities that Mendeley possesses. Users can sign up for a premium version of Bibliogo to access “Workgroup PDF sharing”, but free PDF sharing options are directly available through Mendeley.  Mendeley may be more useful to researchers for document sharing and collaboration, while Bibliogo will help researchers compile and organize  bibliographies through a sleek and easy interface.  Overall, though, both Bibliogo and Mendeley lack the security features that would make the tools useful for professional prior art searchers.

Do you know of a reference management tool that offers strong security features?  Let us know in the comments!

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This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

4 Responses

  1. […] auf den Markt gebracht. Eine erste einschätzung der Vor- und Nachteile gibt es im Intellogist-Blog zu […]

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughtful review of Bibliogo, Joelle! I just wanted to take a moment to provide a few minor clarifications/corrections and updates since your post.

    * Single article document delivery ordering is available for free accounts. Users only need to contact us to set up an account, basically agreeing to be good copyright citizens and accepting responsibility for doing so.

    * PDF-sharing actually IS available to bibliography members, which basically represent workgroups – documents can be delivered directly into Bibliogo. Importantly, we’ve put copyright compliance front and center in the design for how this works & what is required to make it work – essentially, we want help our users do the right thing, which seemed to work well for iTunes and iTunes users and not so well for Napster and Napster users.

    * Lastly, we’d like to let you know that https and search functionality will be arriving shortly (it is actually already in beta deployment for select user accounts)!

    That’s it for now – thanks again for the thoughtful review.

  3. […] der Max Planck Gesellschaft Bibliogo näher zu betrachten. Basierend auf den Eindrücken des Intellogist Blogs sind in folgendem Dokument unsere Erfahrungen – anhand der fünf Kriterien Import, […]

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