Barcode-to-Bibliography App Makes College Ridiculously Easy

David Zax:

Sometimes a technology comes along that is so great it seems almost unjust to former generations. Aviation. The personal computer. The polio vaccine.
One gets the same feeling today when considering a new app out for iPhone and Android. Quick Cite, a 99-cent app, automates the task of putting together a bibliography–that arduous list of books, articles, and other sources consulted that goes at the end of a master’s thesis of PhD dissertation. The first thought you have is, “How much time scholars will henceforth save!” The next thought you have is, “Anyone who got a PhD before the year 2011 was a poor sucker.”
The app works by using the smartphone’s camera to scan the barcode on the back of a book. Then it emails you a citation formatted to fit one of four common bibliographic styles: APA, MLA, Chicago, or IEEE. The app was one of seven developed over seven sleepless days by seven undergraduates at the University of Waterloo. Thus they called the week-long experiment in coding creativity and class-cutting “7Cubed,” and even made a little video about it.