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Citation Management Tools

Citation Management Tools

Citation managers store, organize, and format citations for papers and bibliographies in a variety of output styles such as APA or MLA.  Many citation managers include features such as allowing users to annotate a citation, attach a PDF to the citation, collaborate with others, or create in-text citations.  The four most commonly used citation manager programs at the University of Delaware are:


The University of Delaware Library has a subscription to RefWorks. Users can create multiple accounts, which are easy to share among research groups and with class project teammates. Undergraduates will find this tool generally easy to use. A strong Write-N-Cite component is available for use when writing a paper. Graduate students will find the organizational options in RefWorks an aid in the research and writing process. Faculty may find the ease of sharing bibliographies with students an advantage of RefWorks

EndNote online with the Web of Science

EndNote online is built into Web of Science and is especially easy to use with this database.  EndNote is a rather sophisticated citation manager and offers a large number of citation formats and options.  The capabilities of the purchased EndNote software that is loaded on one's computer differ from those of the web product provided by the Library. EndNote features comparison chart.


Zotero is a free, easy to use, open source citation manager available on the web.  Many users like Zotero because of its simple integration into the browser and its ability to add PDFs, images, audio and video files, and snapshots of web page with a single click.


Mendeley is also free on the web.  The social networking capabilities are a major attraction of this citation management software. 

The chart below compares these citation managers, their capabilities, and their requirements, which will help you determine the best citation manager for your needs.

Comparison of Citation Management Software

Comparison of Citation Management Software
  RefWorks EndNote online with Web of Science Zotero Mendeley
Cost No cost for UD students, faculty, and staff.  The University of Delaware Library subscribes to RefWorks of all UD affiliates. No cost for UD students, faculty, and staff.  EndNote Online is part of the Web of Science subscription.  Also, free account with purchase of EndNote Desktop version. Free for basic account, some cost for storage space beyond 100 mb. Free for basic account, some cost for more storage space
Web/OS Web-based via Firefox, Internte Explorer, Safari and Chrome/Windos, Mac not Linux Web-based/Windows, Mac OS X, Linux Web-based, via Firefox; avail for Chrome, Safari in stand-alone version, using plugins Web site, but full functionality from Mendeley desktop installed on computer
Mac/Win Both Both Both Both
Word Processor Compatibility

Refworks: All word processors that allow files to be saved as RTF.

Write-N-Cite: Word Only

MS Word Word, Open Office, LaTex

Word, LibreOffice, LaTex

Does not support Office 365 app version of Word

Import methods/records from Direct import from most databases and library catalogs.  Other databases require creating and importing a text file.  Direct import from most databases.  Other databases require separate download and import steps.  Will import citation information using Google Scholar. Direct import from Web, catalogs, Amazon records, some databases. Other databases require individual record import. Use "Import to Mendeley" browser plug-in (works for many major vendors, but not all)
Includes full text Link to full text provided when available Link to full text provided when available (GetIt! or DOI) Full text included in record No
Links to .pdf PDFs can be attached Yes; PDF can be attached Metadata includes pdf link


Notes Notes can be added to citations Notes can be added to citations Allows for notes in record and on PDFs. Allows for notes and annotations in record and on PDF.
Where is my database stored? All citations are stored on RefWorks servers. In your EndNote Online account on the web. Local computer but can synch/backup to Cloud In the UK. If you do not sync to Mendeley web, data will be stored on local computer only.
Export format

Bibliographic Software (ex. EndNote & ProCite), Bib TeX, Citations List, RefWorks tagged format, RefWorks XML format, Tab delimited

EndNote, RefMan, Refer, RefWorks, RIS, Tab-delimited, BibTeX RIS files, BibTeX, Refer/BiblX RIS files, BibTeX, EndNote XML
Sharing Yes all folders or selected folders can be shared.  Also, shared accounts may be created. Yes.  Share a group with up to 1,000 other EndNote online users Yes public and private Yes. Can create private and public groups to share refs, files, annotations, notes
Imports RSS feeds Yes       No Yes No
Attachments file size limits 20 megabytes per attachment There is no restriction to the size of a file attached to a reference. Limited by local device (desktop/laptop) capacity No limit for local computer storage. 50 MB on file synced file attachments
Database storage size 1 gigabyte for all references and attachments There is no restriction to the size of a file attached to a reference. However, the total storage capacity for one account (references + attachments) is 2GB. Desktop storage limited by local device; 100 MB backup in Cloud Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 500 MB personal and 500MB group free Mendeley file syncing (larger plans available for purchase)
Backup Yes it is possible to backup citations Yes. Back up your files by exporting citations to your hard drive Available if chosen via sync to Zotero Library 100 MB max Yes. Create manual backup from Mendeley desktop by clicking on Help. 
Browser compatibility Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome Toolbar shortcuts available for Internet Explorer and Firefox.  Mozillla; others using standalone version with add-ons All major browsers
Removing duplicates Yes, exact duplicates and close duplicate can be identified and removed. Identifies exact duplicates for removal. Yes, but in version 3 only No
Global editing? Yes No No No
Searchable Yes, your citations and many attachments can be searched. Yes Yes, including PDFs and other indexed files Yes, including PDFs
Edit output styles Yes Not available Not available Not available
Mobile devices No mobile app, but there is a mobile ready interface. No app; only via browser. Only via using browser to access Zotero server App for Apple and Android devices
Library support Library workshops, individual consultations and an online tutorial are available

Library workshops, individual consultation and online tutorials are available

EndNote Online documentation

Zotero documentation Mendeley Support Center
What happens when I leave UD? Access to accounts can be retained though the RefWorks Alumni Program. You can export the records to another program. Fully portable at no cost Fully portable at no cost