Radiologists ferret out footnote glitch

October 26, 2007

Many academic radiologists use a common software application called EndNote to organize references and citations for publication and other scholarly work. EndNote can be linked with other word processsing applications such as Word to further automate the citation process.

Many academic radiologists use a common software application called EndNote to organize references and citations for publication and other scholarly work. EndNote can be linked with other word processsing applications such as Word to further automate the citation process.

An error can occur when launching EndNote, however, when other common applications are active. Radiologists at Harvard Medical School recently located the root cause and announced a long-term solution (AJR 2007;189:W113-W114).

The article reports an inexplicable software glitch involving three common applications used by academic radiologists: EndNote (Thompson ResearchSoft), Word (Microsoft), and SnagIt (TechSmith). SnagIt is a tool for capturing digital images for academic and research purposes.

"Mysteriously, after routine installation of SnagIt, the connection between Word and EndNote is broken," said Dr. Chun-Shan Yam of Beth Israel Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

Without this robust feature, transferring citation data between EndNote and Word applications becomes tedious and labor-intensive. This problem can be an important issue when preparing major research grants, which usually involve multiple team members, Yam said.

The solution is simply to remove the SnagIt plug-in in Word, Yam said, although he cautioned that the fix requires only the removal of the SnagIt add-in from Word, rather than de-installation of the entire SnagIt application.

"Affected users can now resolve the linkage issue between EndNote and Word without affecting the SnagIt functions for screen capture," Yam said.

Although this solution has been available for some time in the support section of Thompson ResearchSoft's website, it is little known to many academic radiologists, Yam said.

In place of SnagIt, the authors propose an alternative to capture images using built-in operating system functions as a long-term solution.

"For those who use SnagIt solely for capturing screen images, we suggest using the built-in screen capturing function. That is, press the Print Screen key on the PC keyboard, then use the Paste function to transfer and save the image in other desktop applications, such as Photoshop, PowerPoint, or Paint," Yam said.

Alternatively, use the Alt + Print Screen keys to capture only the active window instead of the entire screen. Similar functions are available for Mac users: Apple + shift + 3 and Apple + shift + 4 keys.

"For users who do not own SnagIt but need screen captures, using the built-in keyboard functions will produce equivalent results," Yam said.