Stands for Endnote Library. This is the data file which contains all the references and other data that a user creates while using this program.

Developed by Thomson Reuters, Endnote is a one of the most popular systems amongst academics for cataloguing reference material such as books and journal articles (screenshot). The application contains a number of features which are available on the Endnote Website, together with downloadable trial versions and some excellent online tutorials.

Partly due to its unique purpose, Endnote has its own way of doing things and the new user is encouraged to experiment with the interface to gain some familiarity of function. Endnote can be integrated with Microsoft Word and has its own Word toolbar once the two products have been married together. It can also integrate with Palm and other PDAs for portability and backup purposes.

There are numerous web resources containing hints on how to use Endnote, including the tutorials on the website itself. For the writer and academic who aspires to a 'minimal paper office', this program offers agreat way to systematically catalogue electronic PDF versions of journal articles and other information. Whichever way you use the program, it has to beat the onerous task of manually typing out individual reference lists.

The core of Endnote's database is a few files which come into existence once a new reference library has been created. This library can be created anywhere on the system and it is important to understand what files make up the library and where they are located. To start click on the File menu and select New. The New Reference Library window pops up offering a filename called Untitled.enl in the default location, which is usually the My Documents folder under MS Windows (screenshot). Give the library file a unique name and make a note of where the library has been created.

As the library is added to the size of the database file will gradually increase. However at a starting size of under 100KB the library files are very portable and easily backed up. As I tend to use the resource both at work and at home, so I keep my library file on a USB drive which is ideal for portability. The files themselves comprise an enl file and a folder of the same name, which contains a number of support files (screenshot). These are quite portable and Endnote can open these from any location by clicking on the File menu and selecting Open and driling to the location of the drive and folder containing these files. Make sure to keep additional copies in separate places in case of accidental loss.

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