Citation Management Software


Citation Management Software

Choosing a Manager

Choosing a Manager

McMaster Libraries doesn't recommend any specific system, but we have a citation management software comparison chart to help you choose from three popular and free tools. Below are quick start guides that can lead you through the process of setting up a citation management system, starting to add references to it from a database, and using it with MS Word to format your bibliography.

  • Zotero Quick Start Guide
  • Mendeley Quick Start Guide
  • EndNote Basic Quick Start Guide

If these options don't meet your needs, you can view a much larger comparison chart on Wikipedia, which includes both free and paid-for alternatives.

Comparison

Citation Management Software Comparison

There are several systems that can help you manage your citations and your collection of PDFs. This table compares three of the most popular ones, all of which provide a free option that is usually good enough for most users.

  Zotero Quick Start Guide                            Mendeley Quick Start Guide EndNote Basic Quick Start Guide
Developer
  • Roy Rosenzweig CHNM (Center for History and New Media)
  • Elsevier
  • Thomson Reuters
How does it work?
  • Website,
    Firefox browser extension, and desktop application
    (which can be synced across devices & with website)
  • Account & Installation info
  • Website and desktop application (which can be synced across devices & with website)
  • Account & Installation info
  • Website only
  • Account & installation info
Browser Compatibility
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer 7-9
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer 8-
Operating
System (OS) Compatibility
  • Windows
  • Macintosh
  • Linux
  • Windows
  • Macintosh
  • Linux
  • OS independent, 
    Website only
Word Processor Compatibility
  • MS Word
  • Open/Libre Office
  • Google Docs
  • MS Word
  • Open/Libre Office
  • MS Word
What does it look like?
What citation styles are available?
  • 20+ citation styles
Can I cite while I write? Can I create in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies?
  • Yes, with plugins
  • MS Word plugin (Win/Mac)
  • Open/Libre Office plugin (Win/Mac/Linux)
  • Google docs (when using Firefox plugin)
Does it support sharing articles and collaborative writing?
  • Unlimited groups, each with unlimited members
  • Private groups can share articles
  • Public groups share citations only
  • Group discussions available
  • One private group with up to three members (including group owner)
  • Unlimited public groups
  • Private groups can share articles
  • Public groups share citations only
  • Group discussions available
  • Up to 5,000 groups, each with up to 1,000 users
  • No public groups
  • Sharing citations only
Can I link to McMaster's full-text resources from my account?
  • Yes, openURL compliant
  • Must configure Library Lookup option to enable McMaster Libraries Get It links
  • McMaster's openURL resolver is:
    http://sfx
    .scholarsportal
    .info/mcmaster
  • If needed, McMaster's proxy url is: 
    http://libaccess
    .mcmaster.ca/
    login?url=
  • No. As of February 2016, Mendeley is no longer openURL compliant.
  • Links to publisher websites are included, but accessing McMaster's full-text resources using those links may only work on-campus
  • Yes, openURL compliant
  • Automatically uses McMaster Libraries Get It links 
Can I add web pages to my account?
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
Can I save PDFs to my account?
  • Yes 
  • Yes
  • Yes 
What is the storage capacity?
  • 300MB (or 0.3 GB) of web storage
  • Unlimited on desktop (size restricted by local storage capacity)
  • 5GB of web storage
  • Unlimited on desktop (size restricted by local storage capacity)
  • 2GB of web storage
Can I add notes to entries in my account?
  • Write notes and add tags
  • Write notes and add tags
  • Write notes
Cost
Will I have access after I leave McMaster?
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Does it work on my mobile device (phone or tablet)?
Security
  • Cloud storage is optional (mandatory for collaboration)
  • Cloud data stored on U.S. servers
  • Cloud storage is mandatory
  • Cloud data stored on U.S. servers
  • Cloud storage is mandatory
  • Cloud data stored on U.S. servers

Adapted with permission from Western Libraries | Last Reviewed:  September 14, 2016

Zotero

Zotero

Zotero Quick Start Guide

Table of Contents 

  1. Setting up Zotero
  2. Getting References into Zotero
  3. Creating Bibliographies with Zotero
  4. Formatting Documents & Creating Bibliographies in MS Word
  5. Creating a Bibliography from within Zotero
  6. Quality Assurance
  7. More Support for Zotero

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool that stores, organizes, and cites your references conveniently all in one place. Referenced items are added to your library and can be synced with the Zotero website, making your references accessible on the web from multiple locations. It supports private and public collaborations, and offers 300MB of free online storage.  You have the option to purchase additional storage.

Setting up Zotero

  1. Download Zotero
  2. Choose which version to download and install on computer or in browser. If you normally use Firefox for browsing, then you can install just the "Zotero for Firefox" option, which is a full Zotero installation. If you use another browser, like Google Chrome or Safari, then you need to install both "Zotero Standalone" and the correct browser plugin for your browser. If you want to, you can install both the Firefox plugin and Zotero Standalone.
  3. Once downloaded a Zotero Icon will appear on your desktop , if you have chosen the standalone version, and on the toolbar in your browser regardless of which version chosen.
  4. Finally, you can set up a free web account with Zotero which gives you access to the syncing and collaboration features. You can then access and work with your collection from anywhere you have an internet connection. If you do create a Zotero account, then you need to set your username and password on the "Sync" tab in the Zotero preferences
     

Getting References into Zotero

Citations can be imported into Zotero from many databases, websites, and PDF documents. How this is done will depend on where the citation is coming from.

Most of the time, you should be able to add references to Zotero directly. When the program is active (it will always be active for Firefox, but for Chrome and Safari the Zotero Standalone program must be open before you can save citations) Zotero will put icons in your browser’s address bar. The icons will change depending on the item. Clicking these icons will save the item to your Zotero library:

You can also use the normal "export citations" feature that most databases offer. Zotero requires the information to be saved in a special tagged format. Zotero recognizes the following tagged formats:If you are using Zotero for Firefox, click on the "Z" icon in the Firefox toolbar to open the Zotero tab in your browser.

  • Zotero RDF
  • MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema)
  • BibTeX
  • RIS
  • Refer/BibIX
  • Unqualified Dublin Core RDF

In saving your references for import into Zotero, see if the database allows capture in any of the above formats.

Once you've exported the references from the database, use the "Import..." option in the Zotero "gear" menu to load them into your account.

Creating Bibliographies with Zotero

Formatting Documents & Creating Bibliographies in MS Word

Zotero can automatically create bibliographies and format citations in documents, assignments, manuscripts, and more in a multitude of different citation styles.

Before you can use this functionality, you have to install Zotero's plug-ins for Microsoft Word (Zotero also supports OpenOffice, LibreOffice and NeoOffice). This plugin enables Zotero to create and automatically update your bibliography and citations in your word processor. Install the plugin from the "Cite" tab in Zotero's "Preferences" window, available from both the Zotero for Firefox browser plugin and the standalone Zotero application

Once the plugin has been installed, a custom menu bar will appear in Word under the Add-Ins tab to indicate this. Use this toolbar to automatically format in-text citations, endnotes, footnotes, and bibliographies.

The icons on the Toolbar performing the following functions:

image displaying Zotero menu and related icons

  1. Creating a Bibliography from within ZoteroOpen an existing or new Word document along with Zotero. Place your cursor where you would like the reference to go and click on the "Instert a Citation" icon. The first time you do this a Document Preferences dialog box will appear allowing the choice of a particular citation style. Zotero comes with the most common citation styles pre-installed, but if you need a style that isn't listed, you can add more using the Styles section of the Cite tab in the Zotero preferences. Just click on the "Get additional styles" link, search for the style you need, and install it.
  2. Click OK and you will be returned to your document.  Ensure the cursor is in correct position for the in-text citation.  Another dialog box will appear to choose the citation(s) that need to appear in that spot. Should the Add/Edit Citation box not appear then clicking the "Insert Citation" icon 
  3. Click on OK to return to your document. An in-text citation will appear where the cursor was originally, formatted according to the citation style you selected.
  4. When all the necessary citations have been inserted throughout the document, place your cursor at the position that the bibliography should appear. Then click on the "Insert Bibliography" icon  to generate the bibliography. It should now appear in the correct format for the citation style you chose.

If all you need to do is create a list of references to email to someone or post to a website, it is not necessary to use the Word plugin for this. You can create a bibliography directly within Zotero.

  1. Select the references or collection to create the bibliography from and right click on the selected references and choose Create a Bibliography from Items...
  2. Select the Style, Output Mode and Output Method and then follow the prompts depending on the selections you have made.

Quality Assurance

Zotero facilitates the management and formatting of citations. However, it is vital that you check the citation data at the import stage and check the formatting of your in-text citations and the generated bibliography to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the data captured or the references being produced.

More Support for Zotero

For more assistance and support in using Zotero please refer to: 

Adapted with permission from Western Libraries

Mendeley

Mendeley

Mendeley Quick Start Guide

Table of Contents 

  1. Creating an account
  2. Importing citations
  3. Importing from the web
  4. In document citation with the Microsoft Plug-in
  5. Creating a bibliography
  6. Quality Assurance
  7. More Support for Mendeley

Mendeley is a free citation management software system.  Its features include the ability to manage, share, read, annotate, and cite reference papers.  It supports private and public collaborations, and offers 5 GB of online storage.  You can purchase additional storage and the ability to create larger groups for private collaboration.

Creating an account

Mendeley has a desktop and online component.  Mendeley Desktop is the downloaded part of the software installed on your computer.  It can be added to more than one computer.  Mendeley Web is the website where you access the web version of your library.  To ensure all libraries are up to date, “Sync” your libraries each time you open Mendeley or add new references.

You need to create an account to use Mendeley.  Click the “Create a free account” tab on the Mendeley website.

Download the Mendeley Desktop based on your operating system.  It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operation systems.

Once you've downloaded and installed it, the Mendeley logo will appear on your desktop.  After following the set-up wizard, you will be prompted to login using your email address and password. 

Importing citations

Citations can be imported from websites, library databases and PDF documents.  How to import the citation depends on where it is located.

One option is to drag and drop a PDF file or folder, on your computer, into your Mendeley Desktop.  The citation information will automatically be extracted and organized by title, author, year, journal name, etc.  This information is only as accurate as what the publisher provides.  It’s a good idea to check the citation information once you have imported it into Mendeley and correct any errors and/or omissions.

Importing from the web

For the first time, go to www.mendeley.com/import.  Drag the “Save to Mendeley” button to your bookmark toolbar.

Find the article you want on the web.  Click the “Save to Mendeley” bookmark.  The article details will display on the right hand side of the page.  If all looks good, click the “Save” button.

The bookmark saves the citation to your Mendeley web account. To view the article in your Mendeley Desktop library, return to Mendeley Desktop and click “Sync” located on the top toolbar.  You will see the file you just imported.

In document citation with the Microsoft Plug-in

Mendeley provides a plug-in for Microsoft Word that makes adding citations to your articles easy.

To start, launch the Mendeley Desktop and select “Install MS Word Plugin” from the Tools drop down menu.  NOTE: MS Word must not be open for the installation to work.

When you see the successful installation screen, click “OK”.  The screen shot below shows where you will see the Mendeley plug-in in the MS Word toolbar. 

When you are ready to insert a citation in your document, click on “Insert Citation” in MS Word.  You,  will have the option of searching Mendeley for the article either by author, title, etc. or going to your library and selecting the article.

Once you have selected the article you want to reference, click the “Cite” button image to import the reference into the document.

Creating a bibliography

When you are ready to create a bibliography, go to Mendeley toolbar in MS Word and click on “Insert bibliography”.  A bibliography using all the citations in your document will be created.  Mendeley has over 6000 citation styles to select from.

Quality Assurance

Mendeley facilitates the management and formatting of citations. However, it is vital that you check the citation data at the import stage and check the formatting of your in-text citations and the generated bibliography to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the data captured or the references being produced.

More Support for Mendeley

 For more assistance for Mendeley, check out:

Adapted with permission from Western Libraries

EndNote Basic

EndNote Basic

EndNote Basic Quick Start Guide

Table of Contents 

  1. Creating an account
  2. Adding citations to EndNote Basic
  3. Importing citations from databases
  4. FireFox Add-on
  5. Manually add citations
  6. Creating Bibliographies with EndNote Basic
  7. Creating bibliographies in MS Word
  8. Create a bibliography within EndNote Basic
  9. Quality Assurance
  10. More support for EndNote Basic

Endnote Basic is a free web-based system for organizing articles and creating bibliographies. This Web-based tool provides users with 2GB of online storage for their references and the ability to instantly format bibliographies in their word processor.  These instructions are for EndNote Basic. For those that have purchasedEndNote - please see this EndNote guide created by Georgia State University. It is possible to sync citations between EndNote and EndNote Basic.

Creating an account

To use EndNote Basic you must sign up for an account. If you have a Web of Science account, that account will also work for EndNote Basic.

Once you have established an account you will use the myendnoteweb.com page to access your library. Make sure to bookmark this page in your browser for easy access.

Adding citations to EndNote Basic

Importing citations from databases

You can save citations from many of the McMaster Libraries databases and import them into your EndNote Basic library using a simple two-step process.

While in your database, you need to export the selected citations or save the information from the database in either "EndNote" or "RIS" format. Remember what database you search.

Once you have saved the data open EndNote Basic and click on the "Collect" tab.

To import your file:

  1. Go to the Collect tab and click the Import References link.
  2. Click the Choose File button. This will open a window for you to find and select the import file.
  3. Select the database you exported the records from using the Import Option drop-down menu. If the database you used isn't in the list, then select "RefMan RIS" from the menu.
  4. Optionally, from the To: drop-down menu, select the group (or folder) into which you want to save the references.
  5. Click the Import button.

The references imported from the selected file are now saved to the folder you selected, or into your "Unfiled" folder.

FireFox Add-on

EndNote provides a Firefox browser add-on that allows you to capture information about the webpage you're looking at. This works best when you're reading an abstract of a journal article or a news website.

The Add-on is available in EndNote Basic under the Downloads tab.

Once the add-on has been installed, you should see a new toolbar below the standard Firefox address bar:

The "EndNote" button takes you to the EndNote website; the "Capture" button lets you add citation information from the page that you're on to your EndNote Basic account. The "Capture" button describes the page you're on, not any citations that are on the page, so it doesn't work with a list of articles in a database.

The first time you use the "Capture" button, Firefox will ask you to give your EndNote Basic username and password.

Once you've successfully logged in to EndNote Basic, the "Capture" window will appear with information about the articles on the current page:

Make sure that the information in the "Capture" window is correct and complete, so that EndNote will be able to format your bibliography correctly later.

Manually add citations

  1. Go to the Collect tab and select New Reference
  2. Change the reference type (e.g., book, journal article, etc.) by selecting the appropriate type from the Reference Type drop-down list box. The screen will redraw when the reference type changes displaying appropriate fields for that reference type
  3. Enter the details of the reference into the appropriate bibliographic fields (i.e., author, title, year, etc.).  
  4. Choose the folder where the reference will be saved from the Groups drop-down list box.
  5. Click the Save button. 

Creating Bibliographies with EndNote Basic

Creating bibliographies in MS Word

EndNote Basic can automatically create bibliographies and format citations in documents, assignments, manuscripts, and more in a variety of citation styles.

Before you can do this, you have to install EndNote Basic's plug-in for Microsoft Word. This plug-in enables EndNote Basic to create and automatically update your bibliography and citations in your Word document. Install the "Cite while you write" plug-in from the Downloads tab within EndNote Basic:

Once you've installed the Word plug-in, it will appear as a new toolbar:

The first time you use the Cite While You Write toolbar, click on the "Tools" menu in the toolbar and select "Cite While You Write Preferences...". In the preferences window that appears, click on the Applications tab:

Click on the "EndNote online" option, then fill in your account information and click "OK". You are now ready to start adding citations to your Word document.

  1. Open your Word document and begin writing, when you need to insert a citation into your text, click the Insert Citation(s) button on the Cite While You Write toolbar. The EndNote Find & Insert My References Windowwill appear.
  2. Type a search into the "Find Citation" search box, and the matching articles in your EndNote Basic account will appear.
  3. Select one or more of the articles, and click on the "Insert" button (if you are using an "author-date" style and want to change the display, then click on the down-arrow to select how you want to insert your citation).
  4. The in-text citation will appear, and the article will be added to your reference list at the end of the document. If this is the first citation you've inserted, then the reference list will be created.

To change the way that your bibliography is formatted, click on the Configure Bibliography button in the toolbar. This window lets you change the citation style on the Format Bibliography tab; adjust the font and title of the bibliography on the Layout tab; and enable or disable immediate formatting of your citations and bibliography on the Instant Formatting tab.

Create a bibliography within EndNote Basic

EndNote Basic lets you create a quick bibliography using the Bibliography section of the Format tab. You can create a bibliography from all the references in one of your groups, or if you just need a few references that you want to post to a blog or email to somebody, add them to the "Quick List" on your My References tab.

1. In EndNote Basic go to the Format tab and select Bibliography.
2. In the References drop-down menu, select the folder or group that you want to use as the source for your bibliography
3. In the Bibliographic style drop-down menu, select a bibliographic output style from the menu (i.e., APA, MLA, etc.).
4. In the File Format drop-down menu, select one of the file formats listed: HTML, TXT (plain text), or RTF (rich text format).
5. Click the SaveE-mail or Preview & Print button.

Quality Assurance

EndNote Basic facilitates the management and formatting of citations. However, it is vital that you check the citation data at the import stage and check the formatting of your in-text citations and the generated bibliography to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the data captured or the references being produced.

More support for EndNote Basic

Check out the Getting Started Guide at the EndNote Basic website for more tutorials.

Adapted with permission from Western Libraries

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