About Citation Management Software
What is a citation manager?
These are personal citation databases and bibliography creators that allow you to import, store, organize, and share your research citations and automatically format your bibliographies into whatever style you need (APA, MLA, Chicago, and many more). Most also allow you to annotate sources, attach pdfs and other files, and share content with others.
Which one should I use?
UW Libraries provides support for four citation managers: EndNote Basic, Mendeley, RefWorks, and Zotero. These citation managers provide the same basic features -- they will all allow you to save citations, organize them into folders or libraries, and generate bibliographies and citations as you write. Which one you choose depends on your own preferences and work style. It's a good idea to also talk to other researchers in your department, discipline, or research team to see if people you might collaborate with are already using one particular tool. Consider your comfort level with the different types of support offered by each tool (customer service phone number, user forums, etc.). Other factors to weigh include integration with your preferred web browser and word processing program and the amount of available storage for citations and attachments.
Although learning to use a citation management tool does take an investment in time, you can always change your mind and switch to another tool. Reference data can be easily transferred from many programs. (Please note that attachments don’t always transfer.)
If you would like some support in choosing or learning to use a tool, make an individualized appointment with a graduate student librarian at the Research Commons! We are here to help you!
Which tool should I use?
Use this chart to compare features of the four UW supported tools. Consider these questions: Do you use multiple devices to access your citations? Do you have steady access to the internet? Which web browser do you prefer to use? What tools are your colleagues using? Also consider which databases and catalogs you frequent. The best way to figure it out is to set up an account and try it!
*For a longer of list of citation managers and their features, see Wikipedia’s Comparison of Reference Management Software
Table last updated: 10/10/2014
Academic Social Networks
Some of the citation managers supported at UW (Zotero, Mendeley) include social networking aspects. Other services that facilitate communication with academic colleagues who share research interests: