Reference & Citation Management


Citation management software makes mining and using information resources easier and more effective, helping you to:

  • Capture bibliographic and full-text information as you explore
  • Organize, evaluate, annotate, and search within your collection
  • Cite and list resources in a wide range of bibliographic styles as needed
  • Access the information on your desktop or online
  • Synchronize your data across multiple machines
  • Share your research with others

The benefits are greatest if you use the software on an ongoing basis, and the best time to get started is NOW!

 


Zotero

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Zotero is available as a Firefox plugin as well as a standalone version, providing browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.  Zotero's integration with Firefox is considerably more efficient than with the other browsers, however, so bear this in mind when getting started.

Zotero allows you to collect, organize, cite and share your research sources and enables the download, capture, and indexing of full text from PDFs and websites. 

Consult the Quick Start Guide for tips and videos on how to get started using Zotero.  Be sure to download a word processor plugin to make the fullest use of this software.

 

 


Mendeley

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Mendeley is another free standalone application, which performs largely the same functions as Zotero but behaves a little bit differently.  For example, while both Zotero and Mendeley allow you to extract metadata (such as title, authors, etc.) from PDFs, Mendeley automates this process while providing the option of organizing your files directly in your hard drive in a customizable manner.  Mendeley also allows for highlighting and annotations directly on the article PDF.

If you are already a Zotero user, it's unlikely that you will benefit greatly from switching your reference library to Mendeley, and vice-versa; and if you're just starting out, we tend to recommend the use of Zotero due to its open-source pedigree and widespread popularity.  

Here is a list of Help Guides to get you started on Mendeley, or to expand your knowledge.   

 

 


Endnote

 

CUIT Download Link

Getting started (Windows)

Getting started (Mac)

Endnote X7 User Manual

 

Please note:  Columbia University Libraries will be reviewing its support for Endnote over the next academic year.  If you are just getting started with citation management, we strongly recommend using a robust, free application such as Zotero.  If you are a long-time user of Endnote, we recommend you spend some time familiarizing yourself with an alternative tool in order to determine if there is another which best fits your needs.

 


Need Assistance?

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WHICH ONE SHOULD I PICK?

As mentioned above, we generally recommend Zotero if you're just starting out.  Your specific work environment may dictate your choice -- e.g. are you joining a lab where something else is already in use? Do you expect a lot of collaborative work in which it might be useful to share citation libraries on the same platform? -- but in general, Zotero should work for all your needs.

 

WORKSHOPS

The Libraries offer free hands-on workshops on using citation management software.  You can find information about dates and times as well as register online to attend one of these sessions on the Libraries Workshops page.

 

GETTING HELP

As always, you can Ask A Librarian any questions related to library-supported resources.  You can do so in person at a reference desk, by email, by phone, or in an online chat session.

 

CONVERTING AN EXISTING CITATION LIBRARY TO A DIFFERENT APPLICATION

Please fill out this form if you are interested in workshops to guide you through the conversion process.

Zotero provides instructions on how to import reference libraries from other software you may have used in the past.

If you are transferring from Endnote, the process is a little more intricate; here's a separate page describing it.  If you are a long-time Endnote user who would like to move your data, and you need help, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a librarian who will help you through this process.

If you are a Mendeley user, here are instructions on importing reference libraries from Endnote, from Zotero, or from Papers.

 

CURIOUS ABOUT OTHER SOFTWARE?

If you are a heavy LaTeX user, BibDesk might suit your needs. 

See also:  Wikipedia's Comparison of Reference Management Software


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES