Software Resources

Carnegie Mellon University VPN

Many of the library search engines and full-text resources are only licensed for campus use. If you are off-campus, some library resources can authenticate using your normal Andrew ID and password, but others require the use of Virtual Private Networking to temporarily tunnel your network traffic through a CMU host.

Library notes on off-campus access:

The current VPN guide can be found here: Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client

The ‘How-to’ sub page contains full directions, but in brief you’ll need to:

  1. Install the software for your particular operating system. You’ll probably want to carefully select which features are installed.

  2. On the first launch, set the server address to

  3. For library use, you’ll generally want ‘Full VPN’ so you have access to third-party full-text resources.

Reference Management Software

Searching through academic literature involves sifting through a great many citations and abstracts looking for relevant material. It can be very convenient to use specialized tools to keep track of your search and save relevant papers.

Wikipedia has a useful comparison guide.

Some tools provide browser plugins which make logging a citation as simple as clicking a toolbar button. The two I have used most in this manner are Zotero and Mendeley, but there are many others.

I currently use Zotero for online capture and BibDesk for maintaining the site bibliography, but your preferences may vary.

Zotero works best if you also install the browser plug-in so you can capture citations directly from web pages. I also recommend setting your default export format to BibTeX so that you can directly drag or cut and paste citations in our preferred format.