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World Digital Libraries: An International Journal (WDL)
Vol.10(2)  December 2017
Print ISSN : 0974-567X
Online ISSN : 0975-7597

Online Citation Tools: A Comparative Study

Paojangul Misao: Research Scholar, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Delhi, Delhi 110 007, India
Email: pjnmisao@gmail.com

Margam Madhusudhan: Associate Professor, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Delhi, Delhi 110 007, India; (E): mmadhusudhan@libinfosci.du.ac.in

DOI: 10.18329/09757597/2017/10209


A citation is a way of giving credit to the work of a person one has referred in his/her research. In academic writing, citations are distributed across the article, starting from introduction. Hunter (2006) stated that citations function as a way for a writer to communicate with the reader. In the overall pursuit of knowledge, the significance of citation lies in it being the basis of academics. In the academic endeavour, individuals look at evidence and its reason in their own individual ways. That is, taking what is already known, established or thought, they use their reasoning power to create new knowledge. Errors in providing citation not only hinders scholarly communication and adversely affects the authors, readers, and academicians in the field, leaving a negative impact regarding citing a particular work but also raises doubts about the validity of the research. Faunce and Job (2011) posit that “inaccurate citations lend suspicion to the credibility of the author. As a result, citing references accurately is critically important”.

There are many formats for the use of citations in different fields, such as American Psychological Association (APA) is used in the fields of social and behavioural sciences, psychology, education, anthropology; Harvard for social sciences, natural sciences, education, business; Chicago for social, biological, and physical sciences, humanities; Modern Languages Association of America (MLA) for modern languages, literature; American Chemical Society (ACS) for chemistry; American Institute of Physics (AIP) for physics; IEEE for engineering and technology; Vancouver for medicine, humanities, etc.

The creation of citation is a cumbersome process for the researchers as they need to know the rules for citing sources as per the approved citation style. Online citation creation has eased up the researcher’s efforts for citation creation as they can do so without remembering and consulting the rules of the recommended citation style. On the basis of the preceding discussion, it can be stated that the features/functions of online citation tools are extremely bright since they provide automatic reference linking, flexibility in bibliographic styles, creating easy bibliography, and solving research problems. In this environment, these resources open up many exciting opportunities and have already brought revolutionary transitions in research work, particularly review of literature and bibliography of the project reports, dissertations, and theses. These software packages normally consist of a database wherein complete bibliographic references can be entered along with a system for generating selective lists of articles in the different formats required by publishers and scholarly journals. “Modern reference management packages can usually be integrated with word processors so that a reference list in the appropriate format is produced automatically as an article is written, reducing the risk that a cited source is not included in the reference list. They will also have a facility for importing the details of publications from bibliographic databases” (https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Reference_management_software).

Review of Related Literature

There are many articles and case studies available on this topic by various authors; some of the more relevant ones are reviewed in this article. Citation symbolizes association of ideas (Giri and Das 2011) and three important reasons for importance of citation—ideas are the currency of academia, failing to cite violates the rights of the person who originated the idea, academics need to be able to trace the genealogy of ideas (Hunter 2006). A citation is a credit or reference to another document or source which documents both influence and authority” (North Carolina State University 2004).  One of the most important aspects of academic writing is making use of the ideas of other people (UEfAP 2008) because quality academic writing is built upon the work of others (North Carolina State University 2004).  Citation index is a kind of bibliographic database, an index of citations between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which documents to be cited later and which ones to be cited earlier (Iqbal 2016).

Madhusudhan (2016) expresses how online citation tools would fit into their academic and research process. The mission of citation tool is to provide students and faculty with a quick and simple means in citing resources with great academic accuracy and honesty. The survey results show that EasyBib was the popular online citation tool among respondents. Simplified and easy bibliography and automatic creation of reference list are the two major benefits of online citation tools. The most obvious impediment is that they have never been used the online tools earlier.

Ebrahim (2016) offers an easy way of collecting references from online databases, organizing them in a database, and citing them in documents in MS Word, following which documents can be shared with colleagues/published online. Kumar (2013) highlighted the advantages of citation tools over the manual method of citation creation, especially the facility to change citation style, auto entry mode, selection of sources, saving of citation, exporting to word, time saving, web 2.0 features, automatic entry of online sources, and so on. Marino (2012) attempts to evaluate the citation management tools. This study explores the larger environment in which these tools operate and develop a macro-assessment of the field, not tied to update schedules or specific software options.”

Furthermore, bibliography of the reference section is an integral but often neglected component of literature. There are few specific studies related to citation errors by eminent authors, most notable being the study by Lee and Lin (2013) who investigated “the conditions of citation errors in Department of Information and Library Science (DILS) of Tamkang University in 2007 and 2011”. The study found that the citation error rate for DILS was 20.1 per cent. Citation errors occurred mostly in references of books, followed by conference papers and theses. Citation error rates for each individual thesis ranged from 4 per cent to 81.3 per cent. The study results showed that citation instruction in graduate programmes is necessary to promote better citation behaviour.

Till date, no research has investigated the role of perfectionism in relation to the commission of bibliographic citation errors and features of online citation tools. Hence, the present study investigates: (i) the creation of online citations to fit into students’ academic and research works; (ii) comparison of features of online citation tools; and (iii) the adherence of the reference list to the reliability of the chosen citation style.

Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to compare the different features of online citation tools. These, in particular, have been identified as follows:

  • To identify the online citation tools;

  • To know the different features/functions of select online citation tools;

  • To identify criteria for the comparative study of different features/functions of online citation tools under the study, and

  • To compare and rank the study of online citation tools on the set of identified criteria.

The present study is limited to an analysis of the features of sixteen online citation tools. The selection is based on free online citation tools which are functional during the reference period. Further, the scope of the study deals with in-depth study of available citation features/ functions for building online citations, compares the features/functions, and ranks them on the basis of existing features/functions of online citation tools, that is, (i) Bib Builder, (ii) BibMe, (iii) Citation Creation, (iv) Citation Machine, (v) Citation producer, (vi) Citation Wizard, (vii) CiteFast, (viii) CiteMaker, (ix) Cite This for Me, (x) EasyBib, (xi) eTurabian, (xii) Knight Cite, (xiii) Make Citation, (xiv) Mick Schroeder, (xv) OttoBib, (xvi) Recipes4Success. These are now freely available as an open source and some of them need free registration that has been taken up for this study.

Methodology of the Study

A structured evaluation checklist was designed keeping in mind the stated objectives and available literature. The quantitative part of the checklist contains 90 dichotomous questions (features/functions) relating to eight categories namely: (i) General Features, (ii) Citation Styles and Editions, (iii) Social Networking Site Features, (iv) Networking Partners, (v) Applications: Mobile and Other Apps, (vi) Information Sources, (vii)  Information Guides, and (viii) Output/Save/Print Features.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

The data analysis phase took place from April 5, 2016 to July 20, 2016.The quantitative responses were received from the evaluation checklist. Each time a cell (i.e. specific feature in the checklist) was checked (marked “√”), one point was assigned to the respective feature of concerned online citation tool. The score for a system is the total number of cells checked for those online citation tools. Each part has a set of related questions and the responses of the each part and their sub-parts were analysed with the help of tables and figures followed by interpretation of data.

  General Features

General features of online citation tools deals with manual, automated, and both manual and automated for building online citation (Table 1).

Table 1 reveals that creating citations manually is the most common feature among all the studied online citation tools, except Mick Schroeder. On the other hand, seven (43.75%) comprise auto cite feature. It is also observed from Table 1 that out of the 16 online citation tools, only six (37.5%) citation tools have both manual and automated building of citations. The results clearly indicate that the majority (93.75%) of online citation tools comprise manual building of citations.

  Citation Styles and Editions

Many citation styles exist in citations but this checklist provided most common six citation styles, namely MLA, APA, Chicago, eTurabian, AMA, and Harvard (Figure 1).

Figure 1 reveals that the Cite This For Me citation tool has all the six citation styles, that is, MLA, APA, Chicago, eTurabian, Harvard, and AMA, followed by five out of six citation styles for Make Citation, and BibMe has four citation styles. However, 56 per cent online citation tools have three citation styles. Citation Producer and Recipes for Success have two citation styles. Interestingly, Citation Wizard and Mick Schroeder have a single citation style each. The figure clearly indicates that 93.75 per cent online citation tools used MLA style, 87.5 per cent used APA style, 62.5 per cent used Chicago, and 25 per cent used eTurabian. The remaining citation tools, such as Harvard with 18.75 per cent and AMA with 12.5 per cent. The result show that majority of the online citation tools used MLA, APA, and Chicago. There are many different styles of editions of online citation tools but the latest editions during the study period are shown in Table 2.

Table 2 shows that MLA style used its seventh edition while APA style used its sixth edition as latest editions existing during the evaluation period. Chicago and eTurabian styles used its sixteenth and eighth editions, respectively. Further, online citation tools, such as eTurabian, AMA, and Harvard styles do have their editions but did not provide its edition number, these are marked as tick (√) symbol in respective places to represent the missing edition. Table 3 represents citation styles and editions scores.

Table 3 indicates that Cite This For Me citation tool has the perfect score, that is, twelve out of twelve score (100%), followed by Make Citation tool with a score 83.33 per cent. The majority citation tools (twelve) have an average score of 5.83%. Interestingly, Citation Wizard and Mick Schroeder have the least among the sixteen online citation tools, that is, 16.67 per cent each.

  Social Networking Site features

“Social networking site is a platform to build social relations among people who share similar personal and career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections” (Madhusudhan 2016). However, some of the social networking site features, such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Rich Site Summary also exist in online citation tools to share the citation data among the peer groups in this collaborative age. These features make great impact and provide fascinating experience among the present day users. Table 4 presents such features existing in studied online citation tools.

Table 4 shows that Facebook is the most common social networking site feature among the studied online citation tools with 50 per cent, followed by Twitter with 37.5 per cent, and Google+ in third with 31.25 per cent. In this context, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and RSS are used to a lesser extent.

Out of all the studied online citation tools, EasyBib has the maximum social networking site features with 85.71 per cent, followed by Bib Builder with 71.42 per cent, Citation Machine and CiteFast come next with 42.85 per cent. BibMe, Citation Producer, eTurabian with 28.57%, while Citation Creation with the least with 6.25 per cent. Citation wizard, Cite Maker, Cite This For Me, Knight Cite, Make Citation, Mick Schroeder, OttoBib, and Recipes for Success are without social networking site features.

  Networking Partners

A partnership/ partner is an arrangement where parties, known as partners, agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. In business terms, two or more companies join forces in a joint venture or a consortium to (i) work on a project which would be too heavy or too risky for a single entity, (ii) join forces for a stronger position in the market, (iii) comply with specific regulations (e.g. in some emerging countries, foreigners can only invest in the form of partnerships with local entrepreneurs). The networking partners include study break media, World Cat, and CREDO reference (Table 5).

Table 5 shows that study break media comprises the maximum networking partners with 18.75 per cent, followed by WorldCat with 12.5 per cent, and CREDO references come in the last with 6.25 per cent. EasyBib has the maximum number of partners with three of three while BibMe, Citation Machine, and eTurabian have one partner respectively. The remaining others online citation tools are devoid of any networking partners.

  Mobile Applications and Other Apps

A mobile app is a software application developed specifically for use on small, wireless computing devices, such as smartphones and tablets, rather than desktop or laptop computers. Mobile apps are designed with consideration for the demands and constraints of the devices and also to take advantage of any specialized capabilities they may have. It includes Google Play for Android and iTunes for iPhone (Figure 2).

Figure 2 shows that Cite This For Me and EasyBib have Mobile Apps (application) for android and iPhone, that is, Google Play service for Android and iTunes for iPhone. The remaining fourteen online citation tools are without these facilities. Further, other apps in online citation tools include Imagine Easy Solution and Imagine Easy Scholar in addition to existing online citation tools (Figure 3).

Figure 3 shows that Imagine Solution and Imagine Easy Scholar features are meager in terms of the other Apps found in studied online citation tools. The figure also shows that only Easy Bib has these app facilities while others are others without any app facilities. For the maximum utilization of the online citation tools, there is an urgent need to introduce such app facilities in other citation tools. Table 6 shows the total score of mobile and other app scores.

Table 6 reveals that EasyBib citation tool has the perfect score, that is, four out of four (100 per cent), while Cite This For Me citation tool has two out of four (50 per cent). The other online citation tools are without a single score. These findings clearly indicate that the studied online citation tools are lagging beyond Mobile Apps and other Apps in their software.

  Information Sources

The information sources are the sources provided by online citation tools, such as book-related, periodical-related, online-related, multimedia-related, document-related, and lecture-related. It is distributed in different categories, such as (i) sources related to books, (ii) sources related to periodicals, (iii) sources related to online data, (iv) sources related to multimedia, (v) sources related to documents, and (vi) sources related to lectures. Some sources are not taken for the sake of convenience in the checklist. The source related to books includes books, chapter/anthology, brochure, pamphlet, e-book or pdf, and preface/ foreword as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 shows the majority (68.75 per cent) of the sources related to books of online citation tools is ‘book’, followed  by ‘chapter/anthology’ with 43.75 per cent; ‘brochure’ with 31.25 per cent, ‘pamphlet’ with 18.75 per cent, ‘e-book or pdf’ and ‘preface/ foreword’ with 12.5 per cent each.

The finding clearly indicates that the EasyBib citation tool has the maximum number of sources related to books, that is, 83.33 per cent while OttoBib is the only source related to books. Half of the total online citation tools have only a single source related to books.

Another source in this category is related to periodicals, such as journal and newspaper articles, conference proceedings, dissertation, newsletters, and similar other editorial publications (Figure 5).

Figure 5 reveals that journal article is the famous source provided by the studies online citation tools among the six sources as mentioned in the periodical related sources with 62.5 per cent, followed by newspaper articles with 56.25 per cent, conference proceedings and dissertation with 43.75 per cent each, while newsletter and other editorial publications with 18.75 per cent each. The figure also reveals that EasyBib has all the six periodical-related sources (100 per cent), followed by BibMe and Citation Machine with 83.33 per cent; Make Citation with 66.7 per cent, Bib Builder, CiteFast, Cite Maker, and Cite This for Me with 50 per cent, Citation Producer and Knight Cite with 33.33 per cent, Citation Wizard, eTurabian and Recipes For Success with 16.7 per cent. Interestingly, Citation Creation, Mick Schroeder, and OttoBib citation tools are without any periodical-related sources.

The third source in this category deals with online-related sources which includes website, blog/podcast, online database, online journal articles, online image/video, weblog or comment, digital object identifier (DOI) name, online discussion, online document, online magazine articles, online newspaper articles, and online reference work. This category is the highest among six categories in this part and comprises 12 features (Figure 6).

Figure 6 reveals that out of the twelve online-related sources, website has the maximum number of online citation tools with 68.75 per cent, followed by blog/podcast with 50 per cent, online database with 25 per cent, online journal with 18.75 per cent, and online image/video, weblog or comment with 12.5 per cent each being in the top six online-related sources. The remaining six sources, that is, DOI name, online discussion, online document, online magazine articles, online newspaper articles, and online reference work with 6.25 per cent each.

Figure 6 also shows that Make Citation comprises the maximum number of online-related sources with 41.7 per cent, followed by Recipes for Success with 33.33 per cent, Citation Creation, CiteFast, Cite This For Me, and Easy Bib with 25 per cent, Bib Builder, BibMe, eTurbian, and Mick Schroeder with 16.7 per cent, Citation Producer, Citation Wizard, Cite Maker, and Knight Cite with 8.33 per cent each. Furthermore, OttoBib is the only studied online citation tool without online-related sources.

The fourth source in the category is multimedia sources and the second highest features in this category with 8 features; these are effective tools in overcoming geographical and language barriers of the content because a picture is worth a thousand words. Information that is presented using audio, video, and text is effective and interesting for viewers and conveys the message more effectively.

The multimedia-related sources existing in online citation tools include film/online video, music/audio, broadcast, digital file, radio/TV, digital image, photographs, multimedia, and movies (Figure 7).

Figure 7 shows that film/online video is the famous multimedia-related source among eight sources in studied online citation tools with 50 per cent, followed by music/audio with 37.5 per cent, broadcast, digital file and radio/TV with 25 per cent each, digital image and photograph with 18.5 per cent each. Interestingly, multimedia is the least used source with 12.5 per cent.

Figure 7 also reveals that Citation Machine has the maximum multimedia-related sources with 87.5 per cent; followed by BibMe and Easy Bib with 75 per cent each; Cite This for Me and Knight Cite come with 37 per cent, Bib Builder, CiteFast, and Recipes for success with 25 per cent, Citation Wizard, Cite Maker, and Make Citation with 12.5 per cent each. Moreover, Citation Creation, Citation Producer, eTurabian, Mick Schroeder, and OttoBib online citation tools are devoid of single multimedia-related sources.

The fifth source in this category related to documents includes letter, microform, patent, government documents, and annual report (Figure 8).

Figure 8 reveals that letter, microform, and patent are the famous among the document related sources with 25 per cent each; government documents come in second with 12.5 per cent while annual report has single document-related sources (6.25 per cent). The findings also reveals that BibMe, Citation Machine, Cite Maker, and Easy Bib have the maximum multimedia-related sources with 60 per cent, followed by Bib Builder, Citation Wizard, and Make Citation with 20 per cent, while the remaining online citation tools are not familiar with document-related sources.

The sixth and last source in this category refers to the lecture related sources, which include lecture/speech, forum discussion, and translation (Figure 9).

Figure 9 shows that lecture/speech is top most source among three lecture-related sources with 50 per cent, followed by forum discussion and translation 6.25 per cent each. The figure also shows that Cite Maker has the maximum lectures related sources with 66.7 per cent; followed by Bib Builder, BibMe, Citation Machine, Citation Wizard, Cite This For Me, Easy Bib, Knight Cite and Make Citation come in second with 33.33 per cent each, while Citation Creation, Citation Producer, CiteFast, eTurabian, Mick Schroeder, OttoBib and Receipes for Success are without any lecture related sources. The findings clearly reveal that Lecture/Speech is the most well-known among the online citation tools. Table 7 presents the total score of this category, that is, Figures 4 to 9.

Table 7 reveals that Easy Bib has the maximum information sources score with 58.53 per cent; Citation Machine Rank with 53.65 per cent; BibMe with 48.78 per cent; Cite Maker with 36.58 per cent; Make Citation with 31.70 per cent; Cite This For Me with 29.26 per cent; Bib Builder with 26.82 per cent; Knight Cite with 24.39 per cent; Cite Fast with 21.95%; Recipes for Success with 19.51 per cent; Citation Wizard with 14.63 per cent. Citation Creation, Citation Producer, eTurabian, and Mick Schroeder are with a minimal score of four and three, respectively. Interestingly, OttoBib is the only online citation tool without score in this category.

  Information Guides

The information guides existing in online citation tools are three types (i) guides, (ii) student resources, and (iii) types of research guides. Tables 8 to 10 presents the data related to information guides. Guides include product guides, student resources, and others forms of writing. These are meant for the user to help in creating a citation. Table 8 presents the guides of online citation tools.

Table 8 shows that only Easy Bib citation tool has all the three guides of online citation tools (100 per cent). None of the other fifteen studied online citation tools have these guides.

The student resources related to guides in online citation tools includes research guide, writing guide, citation guide, and topic guide (Table 9).

Table 9 indicates that Easy Bib has all the four student resources on online citation tools that is, research guide, writing guide, citation guide, and topic guide. Interestingly, none of the other fifteen studied online citation tools have student resources. These resources are very helpful for users to take help while creating online citations. There is a need to incorporate these resources in all the online citation tools.

The types of research guides in online citation tools include research quick guide, credibility of how to tell if you are plagiarizing website, improving visual presentation, primary, secondary, and tertiary and paraphrasing, patch writing, and direct quotes (Table 10).

Table 10 reveals that EasyBib the only online citation tool which has all types of research guides, that is research quick guide, how to identify if you are plagiarizing the credibility of the website; improving visual presentation; and paraphrasing, patch writing, and direct quotes. Interestingly, other studied online citation tools are devoid of a single guide.

The findings of these tables show that only EasyBib has the maximum number of information guides with a score of 100 per cent (13 features). None of the other studied online citation tools comprise information guides. These findings clearly indicate that all the studied online citation tools lack information guides for effective use of online citation tools while creating citations.

  Output/save/print features

The output/save/print features include email, download, and print as shown in Figure 12.  These features help users to email the citations, download the citation file in document format or printing the same instantly.

Figure 10 show that Easy Bib has 100 per cent output features, followed by BibMe with 66.7 per cent and Citation Creation and Citation Machine with 33.33 per cent each. Interestingly, the other remaining online citation tools are devoid of any features.

Among the output features, email has the maximum facility available with 25 per cent; download comes in second with 12.5 per cent, and print comes in the last with 6.25 per cent. The editing/ export and save features  in online citation tools include copy/ paste, edit, export to word, save to my account, and save to my site (Figure 11).

Figure 11 depicts that Cite Maker has the maximum features with 80 per cent, Cite Fast comes second with 60 per cent while other tools are without a single feature. Table 11 presents total score of output/save/print features.

Table 11 shows that Cite Maker has the maximum score with 50 per cent, followed by Easy Bib and CiteFast 37.5 per cent, BibMe with 25 per cent, and Citation Machine and Citation Producer come in the last with 12.5 per cent each, while ten of the studied online citation tools have not opened their score in this category.

  Total scores of the Online Citation Tools

The total score of the studied online citation tools is presented in Table 12. Calculations are based on the data as shown in Tables 1 to 11.

The graphical representation of Table 12 is presented in Figure 12.

Figure 12 reveals that EasyBib earned the highest total score of 62 (68.88 per cent), followed by BibMe and Citation Machine with 36 scores each (40 per cent). Interestingly, Mick Schroeder earned the lowest total score with 6 (6.66 per cent).

  Rating Scale for Online Citation Tools

Using data gathered from the analysis of the different features/functions of the studied online citation tools, a numeric score was generated for each online citation tool in the study. The rating scale was designed using intensity scales (Taylor-Powell 2008) to range from ‘very high’ to ‘very low’ to rank the online citation tools under study. The five-point rating scale was fixed equally based on the maximum score of 90 points (Table 13). Its purpose is best served when comparing and ranking the online citation tools.

  Ranking of the Online Citation Tools

A ranking of the studied online citation tools on the basis of five-point rating scale and points taken from Table 12 is presented in Table 14.

A cursory glance at Table 14 reveals that of the sixteen online citation tools under study, none of them received a ‘very high’ ranking; seven of them received a ‘medium’, and the remaining are ranked  with a ‘very low’.

It is generally true that the EasyBib online citation tool ranked higher than the other studied online citation tools. This is most likely attributed to its development having a specific team dedicated to either citation error issues, social networking or mobile technology issues, whereas lower-ranked online citation tools tend to have fewer personnel dedicated to these issues. The rating system proved to be an efficient and effective means of representing data collected in each part of the instrument.


The comparative analysis of the studied online citation tools indicates that researchers should expect the following changes:

  • Manual creation of citation for a document is a cumbersome process and involves considerable labour and consumes precious time of the researchers. Nine out of 16 online citation tools with manual entry must improve the manual cite into autocite.

  • Easy sharing of references and the ability to tap into community knowledge is an interesting development but it has not yet become a ‘must-have’ feature.  Half of the studied online citation tools do not have social networking features and must incorporate these features for collaborative age users.

  • Portability is now a key requirement for citation tools, so the users are looking for online tools that are flexible and easy-to-use. Users also want tools that support interaction with research collaborators. Out of the sixteen online citation tools, only the Easy Bib and Cite This For Me tools have mobile applications, the remaining online citation tools have to use power of mobile applications to improve the easy mode of access in miniature devices.

  • Without a basic understanding of formats and citation styles, many of the researchers using online citation tools commit errors in creation of proper citation. Except Easy Bib, none of them have guides to help the researchers. They may provide online video tutorials to acquaint the researchers with the process of citation creation with their tools. These tutorials provide great help to the users in creating citations easily and is the need of the hour.

  • Accurate references help foster transmissions of scholarly communication, half of the online citation tools with few meagre features must improve the same to survive in this electronic environment.


“A citation is both a signpost and an acknowledgement. As a signpost, it signals the location of source. As an acknowledgement, it reveals that indebted to that source” (Hunter 2006). These findings of the study clearly indicate that the studied online citation tools are lagging beyond mobile apps and other apps in their software, and social networking site features. These features make great impact and provide fascinating experience among the present day users. The study also indicated that all the studied online citation tools lack information guides for effective use of online citation tools while creating citations. The study found that the Easy Bib online citation tool has the highest score and ranked “high” among the study sixteen online citation tools, BibMe, Citation Machine, Cite This For Me, Citation Maker, Bib Builder, CiteFast, and Make Citation ranked ‘low’ while the other remaining eight Online Citation Tools  with ‘very low rank’. These ranks clearly indicate that there is a need to develop the online citation tools study in the above features. To survive in the present web/library 2.0 environment, there is no substitute or escape to avoid incorporating least scored online citation features/functions with state-of-the-art web technology, particularly, using mobile technologies and also meeting the web and citation error challenges to strengthen their vital web-based citations is imminent.

The findings of the study will not only help the users understand the features/functions of online citation creation tools but also help to improve citation competencies and skills in effective use of online citation tools. These findings may also help the developers of the free online citations tools to enhance more features/services to suit the collaborative user. The major limitation of the study is the absence of a qualitative analysis because the nature of features is complex.


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