For the last five years, students at my high school have organized and prepared their rigorous research in the online tool EasyBib. However, our school is now evaluating a switch to a new online service, NoodleTools. Below I hope to provide a first-glance comparison of both these services. I would love to know experience from NoodleTools users (teachers and students) as our school evaluates this program as a possible EasyBib replacement.
NoodleTools is a complete research companion. Its premium features allow citations in three major citation formats (MLA, APA, and Chicago). It generates footnote or in-text citations too. These citations are all saved by project type, but that is only where the fun begins. Each project can have a research question and thesis stated clearly at the top of the Project Dashboard. Also on the dashboard are features to share the project with student collaborators and a teacher drop box. While these features are not as user-friendly as one might expect in 2016, they are not difficult to learn either. Another feature on the dashboard I love is the “To Do” list. Students can add upcoming items they (or their team) needs to complete. Additionally, a comments section allows team members and teachers to add comments about the research in progress.
NoodleTools also offers a research note-taking and outline page which allows students an easy way to take digital notes, connected to a specific source, and then organize the notes into sections for an outline. Teaching research skills in the digital age, this is a key feature digital learners need to organize research in the cloud. I like Zotero for similar features, but unfortunately it is less glamorous than even NoodleTools.
EasyBib has been my go-to citation tool for five years. I’ve both written papers with it and helped students learn the system. Its main feature is a collaborative bibliography organizer. Students can share bibliographies with multiple users. Most importantly (and missing from NoodleTools), students can easily cite from many database and news sources without manually typing in the fields required for the source. For instance, when researching from JSTOR, EBSCOHost, ProQuest, or Gale databases, students can simply click a “send to EasyBib” button and the citation is generated automatically, with a high degree of accuracy. NoodleTools lacks this function. In fact, you cannot even import .ris files into NoodleTools, again shocking considering the other digital progress NoodleTools offers for online research.
A final assessment. In short, EasyBib is easier to use, but only as a bibliographic generator. NoodleTools offers all the same services and much more, albeit more difficult to use. Ignoring pricing differences, which you would need to investigate for your individual or organizational purposes, NoodleTools offers a far-reaching range of tools compared to EasyBib.