Manage citations

Academic writing requires you to properly cite all sources. In-text citations and bibliographies can be complicated, but the Library can help.

What is a citation?

Citations explain the source of information you use in your research. They include information required to identify and locate the source, such as an article’s author, title, etc. Citations are written according to a particular manual of style, such as APA or MLA. They are found in a variety of places, including in endnotes, journal articles and books, bibliographies, and academic databases. More information on citing sources.

What is citation management software?

Citation management software helps you collect, organize, and retrieve citations while you research. They store all the information needed to cite your research according to your manual of style. Citation management software can also work with programs like Microsoft Word and Open Office to insert properly formatted citations, citations, and bibliographies into your work.

Citation software can help you keep track of all of your sources, and can also make it much easier to create bibliographies and integrate citations.

*Be sure to check your generated citations for accuracy. See the appropriate style guides below for help.

Citation management software

There are many citation management tools available, below we highlight and compare some aspects of two of them. See the video: Automating citations: Which tool is best?

Task Mendeley Zotero
More information More information
Overview Emphasizes online collaboration Open source citation manager that works in your browser or as its own desktop app
Collaborate Share your files and notes with others; save your notes and comments right onto the PDF Share your files with others
Mobile Desktop and mobile apps Desktop and third-party mobile apps
Cite From academic databases and from the web From academic databases and the web
Write MS Word and Open Office MS Word and OpenOffice
Reason to Choose

Your research content is primarily contained in PDF files: Mendeley has an integrated PDF viewer and can create citation records just from importing a PDF file. Mendeley.org has the strongest website and community platform.

Your research content is diverse: It is the easiest method to gather citation records for non-PDF and PDF content. Zotero's single-click capture works with more databases, catalogs, and websites than Mendeley's Web Importer. You can also enable the retrieval of PDF metadata, which allows you to create citation records just from dragging a PDF into Zotero. Zotero is open source and cannot be acquired by a company.

How can I get help with citations?

To learn more about citations or citation software, speak to your subject librarian or use our guides. Faculty, if you would like to schedule an in-class session using citation management software, contact your subject librarian or e-mail us.