Endnote (die die die)

I’m generally liking both the price and the performance of Mavericks on my relatively new-ish Mac, although there are some compatibility issues here and there, including with some of my most used software like MailTags, and although it won’t work on my old but still serviceable and well-loved first-generation Intel Mac.

But one incompatibility is really upsetting me, especially as I have deadlines to meet – EndNote X5. Thomson Reuters have no intention of fixing this and suggest upgrading to X7, which will get an update ‘in the next few weeks’. I have been irritated by EndNote too many times over the past few years, with perfectly servicable versions failing each time a new version of Word (another hateful piece of software) comes out and requiring costly updates, despite adding absolutely no new functionality of any value at all for over 10 years. Not to mention Thomson’s evil and cynical attack on the open-source Zotero. But this is ridiculous. X5 came out in late 2011, I bought it in 2012, and there have been two pointless and expensive updates since then, neither of which is anything more than a minor point-release. I reluctantly paid for a copy of X5 because, despite not wanting to use it and having perfectly decent free and open alternatives like Zotero and the pre-acquisition version of Mendeley, I work with people that do use it and it makes life easier to share the same reference manager. Now I give up. It has long been the case that EndNote is bloated, buggy and overpriced. Thomson Reuters are able to get away with it because of lock-in and path dependencies. When it was one of only a handful of options it was about as good as it got, so lots of people used it and it spread like a disease for compatibility reasons. I don’t care how difficult it makes it to work with collaborators around the world, or the effort involved in learning new quirks of new reference managers, I will no longer support Thomson’s greed. Their lack of interest in their locked-in customers as anything other than cash cows is more appalling than their ugly software. On the bright side, it will hopefully reduce my dependency on MS-Word (same collaboration issues) too.

I’m defaulting to Zotero but, if anyone has any alternative suggestions (I don’t mind paying if it is worth the money), do pass them on!

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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