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Citation Managers

Manage your citations with one of several citation (aka reference) managers.

Citation Manager Comparison

Jump to  Zotero  |  Mendeley  |  EndNote  |  RefWorks  |


A reference manager application can be a useful tool for anyone doing research. Reference managers allow you to:

  • Create bibliographies quickly and automatically format in-text citations with word processing software (Word, Google Docs, Open Office).
  • Collect citations as you research, and save them in a personal account.
  • Add citations automatically from UVA's Library's Virgo catalog and databases without having to cut and paste or retype the information.
  • Annotate citations and link them to full-text documents.
  • Organize citations into folders.

While a number of reference manager applications exist, UVA researchers generally use one of three: Zotero, Endnote, or Mendeley.

Please look at the descriptions below to decide which is best for you.  One thing to keep in mind is that it can be hard to switch from one platform to another.  You can export your citations, but transferring tags or folders will be difficult.

More extensive comparisons can be found at:

*  In Zotero and EndNote, configure the Open URL Resolver option to use http://re5qy4sb7x.search.serialssolutions.com/

Zotero

Zotero logo

Zotero

How it works: 

  • Desktop download and browser plugin.  Citations are saved on your computer and to the Zotero server, and may be synced across devices.

How to get it:

  • Download at https://www.zotero.org/download/.  Options to download "Zotero for Firefox" or "Zotero Standalone" with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browser plugins. 

Strengths:

  • Easy to access and use from within Firefox (Zotero for Firefox), or Desktop and either Chrome, Safari or Firefox (Zotero Standalone); importing citations can be accomplished with one click. 
  • Share citations with other users and the public using the Groups feature.
  • Excellent for capturing information about web resources.  Allows you to save and annotate websites.
  • You can save attachments to Zotero’s server or your personal computer.
  • Connect to articles using Find@UVa.*

Weaknesses:

  • Use on more than one computer requires syncing; not designed for use on public or shared computers.  

How to get help:

 

Mendeley

Mendeley Logo

Mendeley

How it works:

  • Software application available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS devices.  Also available via a web interface.

How to get it:

Strengths:

  • Manages not only citations, but also creates a well-managed library of your imported papers. 
  • Regularly syncs content between machines and with the web version, keeping you always up to date. 
  • Mendeley is the most social of citation managers.  You can form groups to share resources and citations within your lab/study group/cohort. 
  • Integrates with MS Word for easy inserting of citations/bibliographies.

Weaknesses:

  • Mendeley is owned by Elsevier, a for-profit company with a history of monetizing scholarship in ways that some consider harmful to the academy. Like other “free” platforms operated by for-profit companies, Mendeley provides Elsevier with data about users’ research habits, which it then uses to market its services and metrics to universities. This is part of an overall trend toward vendors serving and monetizing every step in the research workflow. Researchers concerned about privacy or excessive monetization of research might prefer non-profit alternatives.

How to get help:

Endnote

Endnote logo

Endnote

How it works:

  • Software application, available for Windows and Mac OS.  All data is saved to your computer.  Also available in a web-based version called EndNote Web.

How to get it:

Strengths:

  • Allows greater customization of output styles and import filters.
  • Stored data can be accessed without an Internet connection.
  • Some library catalogs and databases, such as UVA Library's Virgo catalog, can be searched directly from within the EndNote interface.
  • Connect back to articles using Find@UVa.*

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive.
  • Hard to switch between multiple computers.
  • Can’t share libraries with other users. 

How to get help:

RefWorks

UVa's RefWorks subscription will expire on August 31, 2019. Please export your bibliographies before that time.

New RefWorks accounts can no longer be created

RefWorks

How to export your citations/bibliographies

  • After logging in, locate the Quick Access Toolbar on the right-hand menu.
  • Click "Export".
  • Choose which references to export, and select your preferred format.
  • Click "Export References" to download your file. This file can be imported into any of the other citation management programs on this page.

For more information on using RefWorks between now and August 31, 2019, please see our RefWorks Guide.

Get help with your research

Don't hesitate to contact us at our Ask a Librarian page.