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Choose a Citation Manager: Overview

What is Citation Management?

Citation managers make it easy to store and organize your citations. Features to look for include:

  • Tools that integrate with word processors so you can automate citing sources in your documents
  • Tools to grab citations from web sources
  • Ability to link PDFs to citations
  • Ability to share citation folders with collaborators

Pros & Cons of Different Tools

  RefWorks Zotero EndNote Online Mendeley
Pros

Free for SMU and alum

Unlimited storage

Easiest interface

Drag and drop functionality

PDF annotation

Easy to add citations from library databases

Free

Can collaborate across institutions

Drag and drop functionality

One click to save citation and PDF

Frequently used in the humanities

Free

Frequently used in the sciences

Easy to add citations from library databases

Free 

Can collaborate across institutions

Drag and drop functionality

Built-in notebook

PDF annotation

Cons

Limited offline features

Not useful for collaborative projects with those without access

Limited free storage (300 MB)

No professional customer service (Zotero Forums offers support)

Known accessibility issues for screen reader users

No offline features

Desktop version is not free

Limited free storage of 50,000 records and 2 GB of attachments

Limited citation styles 

Limited group collaborative functionality

Not an easy interface

Limited free storage (2GB)

Multiple steps to import references

Comparing Features

 

RefWorks

Zotero

EndNote Online

Mendeley 

How does it work?

Web-based

Free with university subscription

Desktop application which links to Chrome, Safari, or Firefox extensions

Backup & sync via web-based account

Register for a free account 

Web-based

Register for a free account

Web-based

Desktop-availability

Register for a free account

What citation styles are available? List of Citation Styles List of Citation Styles List of Citation Styles List of Citation Styles

Can I share files? 

Yes Yes Yes Yes

Can I grab citations from PDF uploads?

Yes Yes No Yes
Can I work offline? Only with Microsoft Word plugin Yes No Yes
Can I export citations from library databases? Yes, direct export Yes, download RIS/BiBTeX file and then upload to your account Yes, direct export Yes, download RIS/BiBTeX file and then upload to your account

What word processors does it integrate with?

 

Google Docs

Microsoft Word

Google Docs

LibreOffice

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word

LibreOffice

Can I grab citations from webpages? Yes, bookmarklet that can be added to browser favorites bar Yes, with extension for Chrome, Safari, or Firefox No Yes

Switching Citation Managers

  • You can move citations from one tool to another through an export of the RIS files (a file type for citations).
  • However, there is no way to batch download your attached PDFs.