Online Research Toolkit

         a collection of reviews of online tools and suggested uses for online research

December 6, 2006

NoodleBib Express

Filed under: Citation,Web based @ 11:10 am

NoodleBib Express is an online citation generator for MLA and APA styles. It’s from NoodleTools, which also sells NoodleBib, an online bibliographic manager that lets you save and organize citations. (NoodleBib is the least expensive of the for-fee managers I’ve run across so far, currently at $8/year. The Express version is free.)
The strength of NoobleBib, both Express and the full version, is the question series that guides you through creating a citation. First you choose MLA or APA, and then what type of source you have, such as book, journal, video, report, thesis, court case, etc. Then it gives you some alternative options. For instance, if you pick “book”, you get alternatives such as an article reprinted in a book, a pamphlet, or a reference work. All types have descriptions, so you stand a pretty good chance of figuring out what your source type is. Then you pick print or online; online leads you to questions about the online source: stand alone site, database, etc.

At each step, you answer more detailed questions, until the exact type of source is determined, then you enter in the data. Each field has explanations and instructions; for instance, the APA title field gives general instructions about capitalization (capitalize only the first word, and any proper names), plus a link to a help page. There is an Error Check feature that highlights possible problems, but you can continue without correcting them if you don’t think there is a problem. (In my example, the publisher is Libraries Unlimited, which NoodleBib flags as a potential problem. In APA format, you leave out “business types” like Company, but in this case the name does include Unlimited, so I elect to leave it in.)

The citation is produced on a new page so that you can cut and paste into your document:

Reitz, J. M. (Ed.). (2004). Digital reference. In Online dictionary for library
     and information science. Portsmouth, NH: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved
     December 6, 2006, from

This tool should be very useful for students (and others) who are unfamiliar with citation formats or who are unsure about what to do with an unfamiliar type of source. The lengthy questions would probably get tedious quickly, but it would serve as a good teaching tool.

One of the complaints that I have with full bibliographic managers like RefWorks is that you need fairly extensive knowledge of citation formats in order to be sure it’s working correctly. I do a lot of fiddling with settings to get what I think is the proper format, especially for online material. NoodleBib Express would be a good starting place for those not ready for something as complicated as RefWorks.

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