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Citation Managers: Which citation manager is right for me?

Learn more about EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero

What Is a Citation Manager?

Citation managers are tools that enable you to store and organize references to journal articles, websites, and any other sources you are using for projects. They integrate with word processors such as Microsoft Word so that you can insert correctly formatted citations directly into your documents while you're writing, and generate a formatted bibliography at the end. You can easily switch between citation styles, which saves a lot of time.

Which Citation Manager Is Right for Me?

With the variety of citation management options available, it's important to choose the tool that is right for you. This table compares three available tools.

  EndNote Mendeley Zotero
Cost $75 per license Free for basic version (2GB of storage) Free
Web/desktop Desktop and web versions Desktop and web versions Desktop and web versions
Importing From databases From databases and webpages From databases and webpages
PDFs Allows highlighting and note taking Allows highlighting and note taking PDF files management and organization; can sync with third-party annotation software
Sharing and Collaborating Can share with up to 100 collaborators                                                                          Several types of groups available. Users with free accounts can only create one group with three members. Can sync group libraries
Learning Curve Not as user-friendly as other options.  Quick to install and easy to learn; user-friendly interface Easy to learn, simple design

Key differences

EndNote:

  • Has the most storage included - "unlimited" reference and attachment storage included in EndNote x9. Note that this program lives on your hard drive, so it will be limited by that.

Mendeley:

  • Connects with social media platforms and facilitates connections between users
  • Has an associated Android and iOS compatible app, which works well on mobile devices

Zotero:

  • Is compatible with Google Docs