4 Free Tools to Make Your Research Easier

Posted on: November 3, 2023

1. Research Guides

Looking for sources you can’t find on Google? Research Guides are pages on the Libraries website that point you to the very best databases and resources for research on a specific subject. They are created by JMU liaison librarians, who are also available to meet with you about your research!

Watch our How Research Guides Can Help You tutorial to learn more:

2. The LibKey Nomad extension

Tired of hitting paywalls for articles you get for free through JMU? LibKey Nomad is a super handy browser extension (for Chrome, Safari, etc.). Whenever you try to open a scholarly article online, it pops up a link to the best version available through JMU. When the full text version is not available, it will even invite you to request the article through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Here is a short video that shows how it works:

Get the LibKey Nomad extension: Download the LibKey Nomad extension for whatever browser you like best. Once you see how much time it saves you, you’ll wonder how you ever did research without it!

3. The Citing Sources Guide

Are you new to citing sources? The Citing Sources Guide from JMU Libraries has all the information you need to get comfortable with citing in APA, Chicago, MLA, and more. 

4. Zotero

Are you still typing out your reference lists? Maybe it’s time to try a citation manager! Zotero is a free, easy-to-use open source tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and collaborate on research. Zotero connects easily with Microsoft Word and Google Docs so you can insert citations directly in your text and automatically generate a reference list. 

Get Zotero: Create an account on their website or download Zotero to get started. You can even get the mobile app and sync seamlessly across all your devices! The Zotero Connector browser extension (plug-in) makes it easy to save sources directly to Zotero from websites and databases. It is available for the Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge web browsers. 


If you have questions about your research, Ask the Library! We’re here to help.

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