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Citation Styles & Tools   Tags: citations references documentation notes bibliographies  

Quick help on citing sources and tools for storing and organizing sources.
Last Updated: Jun 8, 2015 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

Citation Management Software Print Page

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.)


Which tool should I use?

Quick Comparison of Citation Management Software *

(not supported by UW Libraries)

Mendeley RefWorks Zotero
Free No

(UW license)

Yes Yes
(UW license)
Web-based No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Access & edit database offline Yes No Yes No Yes
Enter in-text citations offline Yes No Yes Yes
(MS Word Only)
Supports different citation styles Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Insert citations in Word or
Open Office docs (w/installed plugin)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Insert citations in Google docs Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Open source

(owned by Thomson Reuters)

(owned by Thomson Reuters)
(owned by Elsevier)

(owned by ProQuest)

Attach files

(no limit)



(100MB default)

(300MB free)

Attach web page or screen captures No No No No Yes
Annotate pdfs within program Yes No Yes No No +
Mobile capability No Yes Yes Yes Yes
App availability Yes
(Cost $$)
No Yes No Yes
(3rd party)

* For a longer of list of citation managers and their features, see Wikipedia’s Comparison of Reference Management Software.

+ PDF management features for Zotero, including extracting annotations, are available through the ZotFile add-on.

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:


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