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Old Citation Management: Selecting a Tool

Citation Management Software Sampler

Selecting a Citation Management Tool

There are many applications for managing your research. If you prefer to use Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote, or other software, you will be able to use your RefWorks data with the majority of citation management applications.  With so many citation management tools available, how do you know which one will work best for you? It's worth asking yourself a few basic but important questions before deciding on which citation manager you're going to use to support your research projects.

Use the chart below to determine which application would work best for your research and then the tabs across the top to learn more about each citation management tool.


RefWorks (Individual Subscription)



EndNote (Desktop)










Desktop product



Attached to user’s local browser

Cloud-based options available

Stand-alone application

Cloud-based options available

Installed on personal computer; can sync with online  and iPad versions



Free version

(Optional fee-based upgrades)

Free version

(Optional fee-based upgrades)

Free to Duquesne University users through an on campus site license.

Access and Subscriptions:

User based

Institutional plan available

User based

Institutional plans available

User based

Institutional plans available

User based

Institutional plan available

Primary Importing Process:

Export button embedded in most databases

Browser bookmark

Drag and drop from downloaded PDFs

Direct export from many databases

Secondary Importing Processes:

Browser bookmarks and manual importing

Drag and drop and manual importing

Browser bookmark and manual importing

Importing from catalogs/databases

Manual importing

Importing from Catalogs and Discovery Layers:

Direct export from many resources

Bookmark works with many discovery layers

Bookmark works well with some discovery layers

Direct export from many resources

Syncing Citations across Devices:

Citations are automatically synced

Users may sync citations for free on

Citations are synced into Mendeley’s crowd-sourced catalog

Can sync with online and iPad versions of EndNote

Syncing Documents:

Documents cannot be attached after importing citations

Documents can be uploaded to the user’s optional account

All documents are automatically synced to user’s Mendeley account

Documents can be synced with online and iPad versions

Personal Storage Space:

100 MB


300 MB

Users may purchase up to 6 GB of space on

2 GB

Unlimited space may be purchased from Mendeley

Unlimited local storage

Word Processor Integration:

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word



Microsoft Word

Open Office

Microsoft Word

Open Office

iWork Pages

Mobile access:

Mobile website at a different URL

Website is designed for mobile browsing

Robust apps for phones and tablets


iPad app

Exporting records to other Citation Managers





Importing records from other Citation Managers





Key Strengths:

  • Citation tool
  • RefWorks export button is prevalent in databases, etc.
  • Includes hundreds of citation styles
  • Allows you to store and organize your research
  • Research tool that includes a citation manager as one of its features
  • Convenience – handiest one-stop interface
  • Extracts metadata from more types of files
  • Create a library of articles and sources
  • Takes web snapshots


  • Research tool that includes a citation manager as one of its features
  • Create a library of articles and sources
  • Annotate these sources by highlighting text or adding notes anywhere on a page
  • Use as an academic social network
  • Search a comprehensive library of shared resources for the latest and most popular articles in the field
  • Citation tool
  • Excellent at organizing references and documents
  • Includes thousands of citation styles
  • Good option for maintaining large libraries
  • Can work offline



  • Costs $100/year
  • Lose Attachments feature
  • Lose the Linking feature
  • Problems with Write-n-Cite add in
  • Some citation styles don’t render well (e.g., APA )
  • Does not work well with IE
  • Must install browser connector to capture database citations
  • Must install Zotero Stand-Alone
  • Does not always render citations well
  • Does not render citations very well
  • Does not work well with databases or DuCat
  • Has to be installed on computer
  • Have to sync to desktop
  • Cost of personal copy



Citation managers: Comparison of features. (2013, November 8). Retrieved from University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries website:

Steelworthy, M., & Dewan, P. (2013). Web-based citation management systems: Which one is best? Partnership: The Canadian 
Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 8(1). Retrieved from

 And EndNote, Mendeley, RefWorks, and Zotero websites.

Citation Management Tools

Below are links to some of the most popular Citation Management tools.  Wikipedia also offers a detailed chart of citation management tools.  Visit the Generators tab to view additional citation generator tools like EasyBib.