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Citation Software: Comparisons

Software applications that help to organize your research. Collect citations, store PDFs, create bibliographies in selected formats, and more.

Citation Software

Citation Software managers are programs that help you gather citations from databases and the Web; organize them into folders by topic or project; choose a citation style; automatically add formatted in-text citations to papers; and at the click of a mouse, create complete bibliographies using those citations.

For information about Citation Styles (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.), see the Colby Libraries guide: All About Citations: How To and Tools


Which software manager will meet your needs?

  EndNote Mendeley RefWorks Zotero
Cost Colby institutional subscription Free; paid upgrades available Colby institutional subscription Free and open source
Access after graduation Only with desktop version; must pay for upgrades Yes Yes, through RW Alumni program Yes
Platform Both Mac & PC Both Mac & PC Both Mac & PC Both Mac & PC
Mobile device? iPad app 3rd party apps Via mobile website iPhone, iPad app
Web-based? Desktop and web (EndNote Online) Desktop and web Yes Desktop & web
Store PDFs? Yes Yes & annotate Yes & annotate/share Yes
Sharing possible? Create groups through EndNote Online  Create groups, share a database, comments; social networking features Create groups to share citations, folders, PDFs, annotations, notes Create groups, share databases
Choice of citation styles? 1000s Some pre-loaded; 1000s available for download from Zotero 1000+ w/ multiple library view options (with & without annotations) 1100+
Need import filters? For specific databases      
Ease of linkage to databases Direct linkage from Ebsco databases, JSTOR Direct linkage from Scopus, export in RIS format, or save PDF to desktop and drag into application Direct linkage from many databases, often with dedicated "export to Refworks" option. Direct linkage from many databases
Integrates with MS Word to create/format in-text citations and reference lists? Yes, download plug-in Yes, download plug-in Yes, download plug-in Yes, download plug-in
Capture web page and create record? No Yes; also capture bibliographic data from a web page Yes, captures bibliographic data from a web page Yes; also capture bibliographic data from a web page
Transfer records from other bibliographic software? Yes (RefWorks) Yes (EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero) Yes (EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero) Yes (EndNote, Mendeley
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