Organize Your Research
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A guide to the library resources and services available to distance learners at UL Lafayette
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Organize Your Research Print Page

Citation Managers

Citation tools help you keep track of PDFs, citations and bibliographies during the course of your research projects. Many citation managers share some common features, so choosing one can be a bit confusing. Ask a Dupré librarian for help, or talk to researchers in your field to find out what they use and recommend.


  • Zotero is a strong choice for users whose research content is diverse. Its single-click capture makes it easy to gather citation records for both PDF and non-PDF content, including websites, databases, catalogs and audio and video files. Zotero also allows users to enable the retrieval of PDF metadata to create citation records just from dragging a PDF into Zotero.
  • Zotero is social and allows users to create profiles and public and private groups. It's great for sharing and collaboration!
  • Zotero is free, open source, and cannot be acquired by a company, so if you want to retain access to your reference libraries even if you lose your UL affiliation, choose Zotero or Mendeley.


  • Mendeley is a strong choice for researchers whose primary research content is PDF files. It allows users to drag and drop PDFs into their libraries and extract the metadata to create a library. Users can also highlight and annotate PDFs and share them with others, as well as create collections of papers and share them via an RSS feed.
  • Mendeley is social and allows users to create profiles, follow other researchers, and create a network of people doing similar research. It also has a strong website and community platform.
  • Mendeley's free version is limited to 2GB of web storage and 3 users per group, but users can purchase premium plans to upgrade storage space, users and shared groups.
  • Mendeley is owned and controlled by Elsevier, a for-profit academic publisher.

EndNote Online Premium:

  • EndNote Online (formerly EndNote Web) allows users to easily collect citation information from a wide variety of online sources including databases, catalogs and PDFs.
  • Users can share references with other EndNote Online users to simplify collaboration, and the "cite while you write" plug-in allows users to insert references and format citations and bibliographies instantly in Microsoft Word.
  • Reference storage is unlimited. The total amount of space available for file attachments in EndNote Online is 2GB.
  • EndNote Online is available to UL affiliated users via Web of Science, or users can pay for an individual subscription. Users who want a free citation management option should choose Zotero or Mendeley.

Comparison Chart



EndNote Online Premium


Free       Free Not free: Available to UL Lafayette affiliated patrons with CLID and password via Web of Science


Firefox add on or standalone                         Desktop application; web-based application       Desktop application; web-based application


Yes: Windows, OS X, and  Linux          Yes: Windows, OS X, and Linux                               Yes: Windows and OS X (use EndNote Web™ link at top of page)

Organize PDFs and other documents   

Yes    Yes Yes

Annotate / highlight PDFs                           

No    Yes Yes

Selective syncing of documents

Yes    Yes Yes


Yes (with color tagging) Yes Yes (keywords)

Full-text searching across PDFs

Yes: not enabled by default Yes Yes

Private groups

Yes    Yes Yes

Public groups

Yes Yes No

Community network

Yes Yes No

Mobile app

Yes: iOS and Android Yes: iOS and Android Yes: iOS

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License / Author Acknowledgment

Creative Commons License

"Comparing Citation Managers" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Content in this guide was adapted with permission from How to Choose: Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote by Melissa Vetter at Washington University Libraries and from the "Mendeley Basics" guide from the University of Michigan Library, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.


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