PaperToolsPro will appeal to students, writers, journalists and anyone who writes serious reports or articles and needs to be able to back up arguments when called upon to do so.
It was written by a veteran English teacher from the US, who developed it with her students in mind, after dealing with years of plagiarism in the classroom.
Her motivation was a loathing of cut-and-paste research, something she says plagues American colleges, with students commonly buying essays off the net and paraphrasing whole sections of other people's work.
The program is a research organiser. You start by opening a new file as you would in Word. On the left panel is a URL address bar, and on the right a window for making notes, bibliographies and citations, or just linking or pasting information gleaned from the web.
An idea page and clipboard are there for dumping undigested thoughts, which can include images as well as text.
At the top of the right panel are seven header buttons, which take you through to dynamic forms for attaching references. Books referred to are detailed by the writer, as are any legal cases or statutes. When it comes to writing up the research, the application will present these references as an attachment to the main essay.
PaperToolsPro is designed to be used as a preparatory stage to get the research off the ground, and get the student thinking. It doesn't replace Word, but it does get the writer off on the right foot.
The pull-down menus link to a hefty array of online advice about how to write and outline project goals, all of which is clearly presented with a teacher's eye for detail and in a sympathetic tone.
We liked this application. It would be better if the video tutorial was free of charge, rather than a paid-for service. Also, non-US residents need to buy it on CD rather than through a site download, and it's not cheap. But, it does get students and writers on the right path to producing their work, and that has to be encouraged. James Ellerbeck