It’s about time!

Academic writing has been dominated by antiquated ‘legacy’ systems requiring students and faculty to manually integrate a range of software solutions. MS Word is 22 years old, bibliographic tools all work the same and lack the breadth and depth to format correctly (e.g., endnote is 17 years old, and CSL lacks detail to format a range of resources correctly). Today’s users  demand modern tools and features (e.g., something actually engineered for the cloud).

ComWriter is a new breed, cloud-based, writing tool specifically designed for academic work:

  1. Store all your research material in your personal library enabling users to cite resources without having to manage interfaces between applications
  2. Simply select a Style to format all your references AND text, automatically. You can forget formatting entirely!
  3. Write projects in a structured way without having to be plagued by clumsy tools and constant formatting issues
  4. Export your project and let the computer do all the formatting automatically
 
Conceptual image of comwriter

 

It’s about time we had some software purpose-built for academic work!

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Now that is smart!

Academic writing, in fact most writing projects, all have a similar structure:

  • Cover, the first page/s of something. For example, a cover page, cover letter, or the like.
  • Preliminaries, or front matter. For example, an abstract, executive summary, a table of contents, list of figures.
  • Body: the main component that includes an introduction, key points, a conclusion.
  • Addenda, or back matter. For example, a bibliography, a glossary, appendices.

ComWriter, is the first writing tool to actually acknowledge this fundamental writing structure, and provides it as a background template on every writing project.

Structured writing editor

What’s a ‘smart list’ I hear you ask? Writing projects often contain ‘lists’, for example: a table of contents, a list of figures or tables, a bibliography. ComWriter automates these ‘lists’. All you have to do is Add a Smart List marker to tell the computer the location of the list. Now that is Smart!

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Finally, a bibliographic tool for legal referencing

Legal referencing is pretty difficult, but made even more so by the antiquated approaches taken by the current bibliographic tools. Compare the facts (see Table):

  1. Judicial material: Endnote has 2 types, Mendeley & Zotero 1, ComWriter has 6
  2. Legislative material: Endnote has 4 types, Mendeley & Zotero 3, ComWriter has 11
  3. International material: Endnote, Mendeley & Zotero have NIL, ComWriter has 2
Compare Bibliographic Tools

Compare Bibliographic Tools

If you use Treaty references a lot, we have you covered with: Bilateral, Multilateral and not yet in force being sorted automatically based on the data input into the reference. And, UN Official Document is able to sort through the complex array of details to present a perfect result.

Try now for FREE!email_signature (1)

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5 reasons to get rid of Word if you do academic writing

Academic writing is difficult enough without the ‘tools’ making life harder. MS Word is 22 years old! Any system this old would generally be called a ‘legacy’ system. Here are my top reasons for replacing Word.

1. Referencing does not work

The referencing function in MS word is very simple, and generally does not format to academic standards. If you use bibliographic software (e.g., Zotero, Endnote, Mendeley) then you have to manage a plug in, which often fails. Also, the reference types used in these applications (they are pretty much all the same) are mostly ‘not quite right’ forcing you to have to edit the reference in Word. This means you need to (a) know the intricate details of academic referencing, and (b) allow sufficient time for re-formatting.

2. Contents and captions must be re-numbered constantly

Move an image or add headings requires the user to re-number the caption label (for images), or ‘update’ the table of contents when new headings are added. This constant annoyance means continually checking what you are writing, wasting valuable writing time.

3. Formatting often takes longer than writing

Aside from the above two issues, headers & footers, page numbers, bullet alignment, often can get ‘out of whack’, and if you do not know how to manage Word Styles, then formatting can take longer than actually writing.

4. Collaboration requires cut-and-paste assembly

You cannot write collaboratively using MS Word. Which means if you are working on a group project, someone has to take charge to be the cut-and-paste assembler. This person then ends up with all the formatting to do. When it is finally assembled, the  text can seem disjointed because the members have used different writing language, and  then one person needs to edit to fix it up so that it reads ‘as if’ written by one person.

5. Version control is manual

If you are writing over an extended period of time, or writing a large document, then you need to keep different versions of your history ‘just-in-case’ of a system crash, or a hard-drive fail, or because you want to retrieve something you wrote last week.

ComWriter logoThree reasons to use ComWriter for academic writing:

  1. It is in the cloud, saves every 30 seconds, stores history (3-in-1 reason)
  2. Reference and text formatting are done automatically, including numbering, after you hit ‘export’
  3. I can spend more time on researching and writing content, thereby improving the quality of my work

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Academic writing now in a single platform

ComWriter is an integrated word processor and bibliographic tool; and it keeps your work in the cloud. ComWriter allows you to:

  • store your research library
  • select a pre-defined style (e.g., APA, Harvard, and more)
  • use writing templates (coming soon)
  • write your academic paper or essay using modern tools (smart lists, drop-n-drag), cite your references, add a bibliography, automated numbering
  • export your project formatted professionally based on your pre-defined style (text and references)

Write smarter with ComWriter

 

The referencing in ComWriter is more accurate than any other bibliographic tool! Try it for FREE.

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Referencing accounts for up to 20% of academic grades!

University writing is quite a science, and catches many students and seasoned academics out. The rules are complex, and the range of material that can be referenced makes the task a changing target. Academics that set assignments for their students, often assign up to 20% of the final mark to referencing!

A journal article, for example, is a common reference item, yet referencing depends on:

  • academic style (Harvard, APA, etc)
  • the type of journal material: full article, editorial, supplemental material, abstract, letter, and more
  • the way the journal is indexed: volume number only, volume and issue number, volume as a year, issue as a season
  • whether the item was found online, in a database, or is a hardcopy

If you use Endnote, Zotero, Mendeley or any other bibliographic software, you can’t be guaranteed that the reference for a journal article will be correct, because they have limited types available and they can’t figure out if you have the season, or volume stuff sorted. These software products all work much the same way, so we haven’t had a tool (until now) that outputs accurate references!

ComWriter is a new breed of academic tool that has re-engineered the referencing process…

ComWriter is a new breed of academic tool that has re-engineered the referencing process, from the perspective of the desired output!

  • Pre-defined styles: APA, Harvard, MLA, MHRA, and more (references and text is auto-formatted)
  • A range of reference types that mean you can change a ‘journal article’ to be an editorial, or a book review, or one of the other kinds of journal material
  • simply identify the source: hardcopy, online, database and the details are taken care of
  • whether you have volume, issue, year or season data, it is interrogated to produce the correct output

Here is a sample of APA journal references exported from ComWriter:

Author1, A., Author2, B. & Author3, C. (2013). Abstract only in journal [Abstract]. Journal Title, 6(7), 1-20. doi:12345

Author16, M., Author17, N. & Author18, P. (2013). Editorial in journal [Editorial]. Journal Title, 6(7), 1-20. Retrieved from http://www.comwriter.com.

Author22, R., Author23, S. & J., & Author24, T. (2013). Journal article: With volume only. Journal Title, 6, 1-20. doi:12345

Author34, W., Author35, L. & Author36, M. (2013). Letter in journal [Letter to editor].  Journal Title, 6(7), 1-20. doi:12345

Author40, X., Author41, M. & Author42, J. (2013). Monograph in journal [Monograph]. Journal Title, 6(7), 1-20. doi:12345

Author59, Z., Author60, M. & Author61, L. (2013). Supplemental journal material [Supplemental material]. Journal Title, 6(7), pp. S1-S20.

Author65, R., Author66, S. & Author67, T. (2013). Journal article: with volume and season. Journal Title, 30(Spring), 1-20. doi:12345

Author71, A…. Author80, K. (2014). Journal article: with volume and issue. Journal Title, 7(3), 1-20. doi:12345

AuthorA, A., AuthorB, A. & JournalC, C. (2014). Journal article: with issue only. Journal Title, (23).

AuthorE, E., AuthorF, F. & AuthorG, G. (2014). Journal article: With season only. Journal Title, (January-February), 1-20. doi:12345

Journal-Editor47, D., Journal-Editor48, E. & Journal-Editor49, F. (Eds.). (2013). Section in special issue of journal [Special section]. Journal Title, 6(7), 1-20. doi:12345

Journal-Reviewer10, A., Journal-Reviewer11, B. & Journal-Reviewer12, C. (2013). Book review in journal [Review of Book Title, by D. Journal7, K. Journal8 & L. Journal9]. Journal Title, 6(7), 1-20. doi:12345

Great looking references eh!

(ps., ComWriter will do a hanging indent)

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5 steps to perfect academic writing with ComWriter

ComWriter makes writing to academic standards easy with these 5 steps:

ComWriter has 5 steps to perfect academic writing

  1. If your favourite reference style isn’t Harvard (ComWriter includes Harvard as the default), then you can find your favourite Style and add it to My Styles (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian).
  2. Add a few resources you already have (e.g., an authored book or journal article) using the Research tab.
  3. To get writing: Go to the Write tab an click Start a new project & fill out the form (remember to select your style), then click Start and the writing editor will open. In the writing editor add some existing writing (you can use cut-and-paste from Word) to see how the writing editor works (maybe grab some text from your last essay). Follow these steps:

Add writing objects (e.g., a paragraph, a heading, a list)
Enter text into writing objects
Highlight some text to see the formatting menu

  1. Insert an in-text reference citation or add a reference into a footnote using the resource/s you added.
  2. After you create your first project return to the Write dashboard, and click the PDF export button and your project will be automatically formatted using the style you chose. The file will go into your downloads.

Learn more  in our forums or check out our videos on YouTube.

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ComWriter has an updated look…

We have received feedback that ComWriter was a little confusing. So we have made a few changes to the Navigation bar and added some ? tips.

Our new navigation bar is more intuitive:

  • Research: Add resources to cite in your projects
  • Write: New projects or edit exiting ones
  • Style: Find a style to automatically format your writing project
We have also added some tool tips to to explain some of our modern writing features.

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To p. or to pp.

Compose right with ComWriter

Sunday 6 April, 2014

Blog series: Academic referencing is stuck in a print era

Topic: Page numbering

I have been designing some new software to make writing to academic standards easy: ComWriter. Well, I didn’t know what I was getting into with academic referencing: APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, Turabian, AGLC, Bluebook, OSCOLA, Oxford, Vancouver, and the list goes on. Firstly, there is no official Harvard style, everyone seems to have their own flavour.

What I have uncovered is that academic referencing is stuck in a bygone era of print media. Trying to create the automated rules for referencing has been a very big challenge. We are winning the battle, but this blog series is going to highlight some of the, well, to put it bluntly, stupidity surrounding referencing.

Today I am picking on page numbering. That should be easy shouldn’t it? Well no. Let’s see how may ways there are to write pages:

A single page:

  1. p. 2
  2. p.2 [no space]
  3. p 2
  4. p2 [no space]
  5. 2 [the nude version]

A page span:

  1. pp. 235-237
  2. pp. 235-37
  3. pp. 235-7
  4. pp.235-237 [no space]
  5. pp.235-37 [no space]
  6. pp.235-7 [no space]
  7. pp 235-237 [no dot]
  8. pp 235-37 [no dot]
  9. pp 235-7 [no dot]
  10. 235-237
  11. 235-37
  12. 235-7

And, do we include pages in brackets (), [] or not? Which means a page span now has 36 options!

  • 2002 (2-3)
  • 2002 [2-3]
  • 2002 2-3 [no brackets]

Then, do we need to add a comma or a full stop afterwards, which means we now have 108 options for a page span!!!

  • 2002 (2-3)
  • 2002 [2-3]
  • 2002 2-3 [no brackets]
  • 2002. (2-3)
  • 2002. [2-3]
  • 2002. 2-3 [no brackets]
  • 2002, (2-3)
  • 2002, [2-3]
  • 2002, 2-3 [no brackets]

In summary, when writing a reference with page numbers included (I won’t list here the rules for when there are no pages!), a writer needs to ask:

  1. Is there a single page, or a page span (2 options)?
  2. How do I notate the numbers in the span (3 options: all numbers, last number, last two numbers)?
  3. Do I add brackets (3 options: square, round, none)?
  4. Does it need p or pp before the number/s (2 options: yes, no)?
  5. What punctuation do I include (3 options: comma, full stop, none)?
  6. Any spaces to add (2 options: yes or no)?

So, if my maths is correct that is: 2 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 2 =216 possibilities for writing page numbers! Easy peezie…yes?

But, when I have nailed down the exact configuration I need from the 216 options, I still need to consider:

  1. Is the configuration the same or different for: in-text citation, footnote, reference list?
  2. Where do I locate the pages in terms of the other data I need?

And that’s all a student needs to do to consider page numbering in their referencing! 

by Dr Linda Glassop

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Help transform ComWriter into a one-stop writing platform

ComWriter has been designed to make writing to academic standards easy.

ComposeRight now with ComWriter,

  • write using  modern tools
  • structure or re-structure your writing in a flash
  • style to academic standards; simply select your style and export (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, Harvard)
  • store your writing resources by filling out user-friendly forms
  • attach files to resources
  • add resources to projects
  • collapse and expand sections to make working pleasurable
  • share styles with friends and colleagues
  • forget about formatting by letting the Styles do all the work AUTOMATICALLY
  • export to PDF or Word
  • take your writing with you in the cloud, just log on to www.comwriter.com
A writing platform that has it all

ComWriter is a one-stop writing platform

 

Coming soon:

  • collaborate on projects with others
  • public library to automatically add bibliographic data
  • templates to save your outlines
  • store your glossary

What do you need to make ComWriter a comprehensive writing platform? Request a feature

More info required:

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