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In order to avoid unintentional plagiarism (assuming that you are not planning to steal other people's ideas), it is important to take proactive and positive steps. This requires that you not only document as you write but also as you read. In fact, from the time you start your graduate studies, you should start to build a database of references with your comments. In this database you should include enough information to allow you to readily identify a paper and the ideas that you got from the paper.
The reference manager software (free download) described here will help you to build a citation database as you read.
The first step is to create a text file to which you will continuously add references along with your comments. I suggest that you name the file index.csv.
The following are the first 4 lines of one of my reference files named index.csv
-dwn-ref-ct : References related to TOF measurement of Charge Transport Polymers Compiled by J White ~Inigo & Fann group InigA01a.pdf;2001;Inigo A.R., Tan C.H., Fann W.S., Huang Y.S., Perng K.Y. & Chen S.A. (2001), Non-dispersive Hole Transport in a Soluble Poly(p-phenylene vinylene), Advanced Materials, 13, 504-508; first observation of non-dispersive transport in MEH-PPV TanCH01a.pdf;2001;Tan CH, Inigo AR, Hsu JH, Fann W, Wei PK, Mesoscale structures in luminescent conjugated polymer thin films studied by near-field scanning optical microscopy, Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids 62 (2001) 1643-1654; describes early stages of NSOM research, no longer useful
For myself, I prefer to put the filename first, the publication year second, the full citation information third and then in a 4th column to add my comments about the publication
A sample input text file can be downloaded here (left mouse click to view, right mouse click to download)
In order to help you to organize your reference file, there are a number of special symbols recognized by the program when used as the first character on a line:
|~||(tilda)||Italic comment line runs across whole table|
|!||(exclamation point)||No hyperlink for this line.|
3. Use the HTML file to access your PDF files:: An example of the first part of the html file produced from the example text file is shown below:
|dwn-ref-ct : References related to TOF measurement of Charge Transport/Mobility in Conjugated Polymers Compiled by Jonathon White||Parent|
|Inigo & Fann group|
|InigA01.pdf||2001||Inigo A.R., Tan C.H., Fann W.S., Huang Y.S., Perng K.Y. & Chen S.A. (2001), Non-dispersive Hole Transport in a Soluble Poly(p-phenylene vinylene), Advanced Materials, 13, 504-508||first observation of non-dispersive transport in MEH-PPV|
|TanCH01.pdf||2001||Tan CH, Inigo AR, Hsu JH, Fann W, Wei PK, Mesoscale structures in luminescent conjugated polymer thin films studied by near-field scanning optical microscopy, Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids 62 (2001) 1643-1654||describes early stages of NSOM research, no longer useful|
 Duke University Libraries, " Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism ". Downloaded from http://library.duke.edu/research/plagiarism/ on April 14, 2006
 J D White, Research Communication: EFL for Scientists and Engineers (Taiwan, 2009).