What file formats can the Reference Checker accept?
Unfortunately, whatever format your document is in, you'll have to save it as plain text before uploading it. When confronted with a file in a binary format, like MS Word's .doc format, a computer needs to know the exact encoding used to be able to read the file. The Reference Checker is written in Perl, and my web server is a UNIX machine which lacks the Perl modules for accessing proprietary Microsoft formats and others. But your upload time will be much shorter with a plain text document, so that's an advantage.
How long does it take?
That depends on the size of your document. By far the slowest part is the document upload. The Reference Checker can analyze a book-length manuscript in about 10 seconds. So the whole process typically takes under 30 seconds if you have a fast Internet connection.
How big a file can it handle?
1 MB of plain text.
What's the best way to ensure good results?
Don't make any errors in your paper.
Ha ha. What's the next best way?
Make sure that the following things are true after you convert your paper to plain-text format:
Each line represents a paragraph, with no artificially introduced line breaks. (You must be able to turn off word wrapping to check this.)
Each reference in the bibliography is on its own line, with no empty lines between references.
There are at least two emtpy lines between the bibliography and any subsequent material.
Why do you do this?
This is based on a program I wrote for my own use, and I found it so handy that I figured other people would probably benefit from using it too.
Do you accept donations?
Sure, why not? After the Reference Checker finds a bunch of errors for you, in case you feel a surge of love and gratitute, you will have the opportunity make a small donation. It does take time and money for me to offer this free service, so anything that can help offset those costs and encourage further work on the program is very welcome.
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