Noodlebib Users' Guide

Getting Started with Noodlebib


Setting Up Your Noodlebib Account

New users begin by setting up a personal Noodlebib account where all their past and ongoing work will be stored:

Just come up with a unique ID and password:

And in case you ever forget these, give Noodlebib something else to remember you by:

Options, Options, Options!

     Noodlebib has the potential to record, organize, and store all aspects of a research project: from brainstorming to note taking to writing drafts to creating a bibliography of cited sources.  In order not to replicate Noodlebib's own guide to all this functionality (the Noodlebib User's Guide is available under Help, once you've set up your personal account), this guide will focus on what is unique to Noodlebib: its interactive approach to citation in MLA, APA , or Chicago/Turabian.

Creating a Citation List

The first time you use Noodlebib there will be no items under My Projects, but after you begin to save work you will find links to all your projects, whether completed or still in progress.  

To begin a new project, click  

Choosing a Bibliographic Style

For course work you will usually be expected to use a particular style of citation, so be sure to ask your instructor which style he or she requires.  In general, MLA is used by the Humanities and APA by the Social Sciences, but individual instructors may have personal preferences.  Noodlebib supports the three most popular citation styles:

Do Not Select MLA Starter--this is not appropriate for college-level work.

In the Description slot give your list a short name, and remember that as you add lists it might be helpful to keep lists for the same course and department together.  Beginning with an abbreviated form of that information will accomplish this: Eng21900Hamlet, for example, would keep your Hamlet paper with others for Shakespeare 21900 and would keep these with papers written for other English courses.

Once you've chosen a style and assigned a name, click "Create Project."

The "Dashboard"

     Creating a new project opens the

The Dashboard is your control center, where you can access "Notecards" (for creating and organizing your research notes) and "Paper" (Google Documents, for which you will need to set up a Google Account).  But if you wish to use Noodlebib simply for creating and storing your bibliography, just click on 

Citation Type

By "Citation Type" Noodlebib means the type of item you wish to cite: a book, article, DVD, concert performance, or Web site, to name only a few options.
Different citation styles offer similar but not identical options.  Below see the Noodlebib lists of citation types for MLA and APA:

          MLA options:                                                APA options:


Note that there are more options for MLA than for APA, and like most of the differences between these two lists this has to do with the types of resources likely to be used by scholars in the Humanities versus scholars in the Social Sciences.  For example, MLA offers more options in the Audiovisual caegory whereas APA offers more in Legal Sources.  And whereas MLA allows you to include private resources such as an interview or an e-mail in your Works Cited, APA does not permit these in a References list.

Choosing the Right Citation Type

Rule of Thumb:
Choose what it is you are citing rather than the medium by which you accessed it.

For example:

If you are citing a journal article you accessed through a database or on the Web, choose "Journal" rather than "Online Database" or "Web Site."  Once you've selected "Journal" Noodlebib will ask you whether you read it in print, retrieved it from a database, or found it on the Web.

If you are citing a television program that you watched on YouTube or Hulu, choose "Television" rather than "Web."  In the next steps Noodlebib will ask you to indicate where you viewed it.

And if you are unsure about the definition of a particular citation "type"--for instance, the difference between a "Magazine" and a "Journal"-- pick one and Noodlebib will help you decide if your choice is correct.  For example, if you choose "Journal" as the type of article you wish to cite, Noodlebib presents you will all these options to confirm or reconsider your choice:

If you take advantage of all the contextual help Noodlebib offers at every step, you should rarely if ever be lost.

Citation Fact & Fantasy

Fact: There are many citation generators available on the Web--some free and some at a price.  In addition, many of the Library's subscription databases--where you will access newspaper, magazine, and journal articles--offer their own "create citation" buttons.  I test these on a regular basis and have yet to find one that works consistently.  The citations they generate are often riddled with errors--especially if the cited resource isn't perfectly simple.

Fantasy: Citation is easy enough and cited resources uniform enough that a robotic software can automatically generate a correct citation with little or no input from you.

Sad but True: The price of doing it right is putting in a little effort.  As you'll see, Noodlebib's  button is not a magic wand.  It requires you to input the data yourself, with Noodlebib prompting you as to what is required.  Noodlebib makes this process as painless as correct citation can actually be, given the intricacies of citation style and the unpredictability of resources.  Along the way Noodlebib stores your work in progress and allows you to keep tweaking your lists.  It also allows you to work collaboratively and "share" the compiling and citing of resources with anyone else--student or faculty--who has a Noodlebib account.  And at the end Noodlebib will format all this data correctly and produce a list that can be easily exported to Word.

Bottom Line: If you let Noodlebib guide you and take advantage of all the prompts it provides, you should be able to produce an excruciatingly correct citations list in MLA, APA, or Chicago/Turabian.

In-Text Citation

In-text or parenthetical citation--the indicators in your text that point the reader to a complete citation in your bibliography--cannot be automatically generated because what you include will always depend on how much information you have provided in the preceding text.  For instance, if you have just named the author and/or the title of the work you are quoting, you omit this information from the parenthesis.  

Note that each time you click Noodlebib's "Generate Citation" button and a finished citation is displayed, there will be a "parenthetical citation" link at the far right.  Clicking this will open a Help screen advising you of what is required in the citation style you are using and what your options are.

Ready to Go?

 Click to log into Noodlebib.