The citation engine issue
- it doesn’t allow for importing .ris files from databases (a common standard)
- you can’t create folders for citations
- user interface is poor
- numerous popup boxes for editing
- no google SSO
- no easy import function from existing products
- it’s not terribly good or accurate
So far it seems one librarian wrote about the take-over with foreboding but again, more from a technical point of view. It’s just not a very good product. As he pointed out – none of the “quick and dirty” products are very good. For non pure-academic sites (i.e. paid databases) It boils down to whether some back-end programmer has bothered to capture much (if any) meta-data on author, date, title etc. And I’m afraid to say that’s exactly the type of site most of our students cut their researching teeth on. Think of it as the crack-cocaine of citation. You add a chrome extension, you go to a website / youtube video / online newspaper and click the extension and like magic your citation is generated. But not quite. At worst it’ll just pick up the URL, at best perhaps a title and author. And I’m afraid to say most teachers grading “research” are long happy that even that’s been included in a bibliography or works cited or reference list.
From boring citation to sexy ‘critical moments’
But it isn’t just students who are showing an interest in the platform, RefME has received £2.7 million backing from GEMs Education, the largest private education company in the world. They want to encourage more schoolchildren to use the app, as pupils are now increasingly having to reference too.
‘We’ve identified 150-200 million kids around the world who cite,’ said Hatton.
The platform also does more than create references – RefME collects information about what people cite, making a map of the data. This means it can give you recommendations based on what other people who used that same citation went on to find, something Hatton calls ‘removing the search from research’.
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And you thought FaceBook was bad …
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“In the last 12 months, Imagine Easy’s bibliography and research tools powered about 240 million sessions and EasyBib alone saw more than 7 million unique users in March 2016, Chegg tells me. In total, all of these services together have helped students from mangling more than 1.4 billion bibliography entries.”
With education representing a trillion-dollar opportunity in the U.S. alone, we believe that the number of students who will leverage online tools, use the services we have, and then benefit from new services that we plan to offer will increase dramatically over the next decade. That is why we continue to make strategic investments to take advantage of this growing opportunity. At the core of our success is reaching more students than anyone else, knowing more about them than anyone else, and leveraging that data to improve our products and services, acquire customers for less, and increase their customer satisfaction. That is the essence of what the Student Graph does, and we have been consistent in our product and business development strategies by investing in services that can both leverage and contribute to the Student Graph which accelerates our growth. That was the driving force behind our acquisition of Imagine Easy which has been one of the quickest and most successful integrations into the company. With 30 million annual unique visitors according to comScore, we continue to be confident that this acquisition is an enormous opportunity for students, for Chegg, and for our shareholders. There have been over 1.5 billion citations created to date with more than 400 million new ones added in 2016 alone. Already we are exceeding the expectations we have for the business and it is quickly becoming a core part of the Chegg Services platform.