Comparing 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 University of Louisiana at Lafayette affiliation, choose Zotero or Mendeley.
See our Zotero guide for more information, including instructions on installing and using Zotero.
- 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 is owned and controlled by Elsevier, a for-profit academic publisher.
- 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.
- 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.
- Users who want a free citation management option should choose Zotero or Mendeley.
- EndNote Online is available to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette affiliated users via Web of Science, or users can pay for an individual subscription.
License / Acknowledgment
"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.