MILLION-DOLLAR IDEA: Scan Books With This App And Get An Instant Bibliography For Research Papers

Quick Cite

The idea: Instead of spending hours putting together a bibliography, simply scan the barcode of the books with this app and voila — you have an instant list. 

Quick Cite, a 99-cent app that works on the iPhone and Android, automates the task of entering and formatting books used in theses and research reports.

Here’s how it works: After you scan a book’s barcode with your smartphone, Quick Cite will email you a citation formatted to fit one of four common bibliographic styles: APA, MLA, Chicago, or IEEE.

Whose idea: The app was developed over seven sleepless days by seven undergraduates at the University of Waterloo, reported Fast Company. 

Why it’s brilliant: Even though a great number of sources are now online, PhD students and authors still rely on many books for their research. This app will help anyone who cites numerous books save hours of work.

Just don’t forget to proofread. The Chronicle of Higher Education found a few glitches. Some books showed up as “Cambridge Univ Pr.,” instead of “Cambridge University Press,” for instance. Then again, we’ll take those five minutes of proofreading versus the alternative.

Have a million dollar idea of your own? Send it to [email protected] and see if it stands up to our critical readers. Just be sure to include your name and a photo of yourself, or your idea, in the email.

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