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Citation Management: Overview

Options for Citation Management

All Citation Management Software allow you to collect, organize, and format citations but there are important differences among the different types. 


  • EndNote Desktop is a very sophisticated citation manager that offers the largest number of citation formats and options. It offers a plugin for MS Word so you can cite while you write. You can share citations. The downside is EndNote is fairly expensive.
  • EndNote Online is web-based and is a simplified version of EndNote Desktop.  It has the ability to work in tandem with EndNote, as well as be a stand-alone system.  
  • Mendeley is web-based and has the ability to add citations in MS Word.  It has a drag-n-drop feature with pdf attachments and allows you to share your citations in a social network. The downside is you are not able to edit citation styles. 
  • Zotero is a very easy-to-use open source tool. The program lives right in your browser! Using Zotero, it is especially easy to capture and save citations found on webpages, and to add notes and other information to saved citations for efficient and creative organization. Zotero also offers a plugin for MS Word so you can cite while you write. The downside is you are not able to edit citation styles.

Comparing Software Options

Wikipedia keeps a fairly detailed and up-to-date page on the variety of software options for reference/citation management. 

Citation Management Software

These are some of the most popular programs for managing citations and creating bibliographies:

Free Anywhere

EndNote Online



Free at UF

F1000 SciWheel

Purchase Required




What is a Citation?

What is a citation? A citation....

  • describes a book, journal article, website, or other published item
  • gives credit to the originator of an idea, thus preventing plagiarism
  • enables the reader to retrieve the item you refer to
  • includes the author, title, source (publisher and place of publication or URL), and date

A citation manager is a tool which helps you to store, organize and output your citations in the format you prefer.

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