Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tools of the Trade: Databases and Style Guides

Just a quick post today about some new research tools that I find exciting these days. The first is a new style guide coming out this year called Wired Style: The Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual, written by David Thomas, Kyle Orland (of Joystiq) and Scott Steinberg, that promises to offer guidance on "spelling conventions and game criticism, plus company information and historical timelines" for the videogames industry. According to Orland, the manual will provide:
[S]ome consistent answers for those niggling copy editing questions that constantly come up when writing about games -- questions like whether videogame should be one word or two (the guide says one, you say two), whether to capitalize the B in Xbox (no) and whether the term "Wiimote" should be excised from the English language forever (yes, yes, a thousand times yes).

You can read some preview coverage of the manual at Joystiq here, and at GamesIndustry.biz here.

In other news, I've been hearing a lot about a new web-based reference database called Zotero that I'm pretty excited to try out and possibly integrate into my data-collection for my thesis research. Here's a brief description from the website:
Zotero is a free, easy-to-use research tool that helps you gather and organize resources (whether bibliography or the full text of articles), and then lets you to annotate, organize, and share the results of your research. It includes the best parts of older reference manager software (like EndNote)—the ability to store full reference information in author, title, and publication fields and to export that as formatted references—and the best parts of modern software such as del.icio.us or iTunes, like the ability to sort, tag, and search in advanced ways. Using its unique ability to sense when you are viewing a book, article, or other resource on the web, Zotero will—on many major research sites—find and automatically save the full reference information for you in the correct fields.

It's currently in the Beta stage, but already looks very impressive, as you can see from this online demo. Plus it's compatible with EndNote, the program that I'm currently using to organize and manage my references and comp notes, so this might be just the ticket to integrating online sources into my existing system.

3 comments:

Jonas said...

Ah, please share your thoughts on Zotero when you try it out. I'm also on Endnote but looking to go browser-based.
From what I've read about Zotero it could be really great once they introduce MS Word integration. And maybe even before...?

- Jonas

Sara M. Grimes said...

I'll make sure I do, Jonas.
Sara

Sara M. Grimes said...

So far, I've just been using it to do web searches and I really like its usability and fluid integration into the whole web-search process. I have yet to attempt an integration of my newly zotero-saved sources into Endnote, but will keep you posted on how it goes once I do.