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Research Citation Managers

Citation tracking software using Refworks, Zotero, and Mendeley.

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What are citation managers?


Citation Management software allows you to create and track references (aka citations) and to create bibliographies or reference lists formatted in the appropriate style, such as APA, MLA, Chicago or Turabian. You can simultaneously import records from databases such as Academic Search Premier, PsycINFO, JSTOR and Web of Science in addition to many others. You can add abstracts, keywords and other functions that enhance and improve the efficiency of your project.

How does citation management software save time and how might I use it?

  • Create bibliographies and references almost instantaneously.
  • Reduce the likelihood of duplicate citations by removing them
  • Create your own critical abstracts, which is part of the the production of your work.
  • Re-use or repurpose your own content over time.
  • Search and organize your own database of references according to how you would use them.
  • Embed footnotes, endnotes and within text citations.

What it won't do

  • It will not create a perfect bibliography or reference list according to your favorite style. For example, you will still have to know APA, MLA, Chicago or Turabian.
  • It will not correct errors or omissions that were in the database from which you retrieved references.
  • It will not always know what type of material you are putting into it from a database (e.g. it cannot always distinguish a proceeding from a book).
  • At this time, no bibligraphic management software handles legal citation formats.

What program is right for you?

The Hesburgh Libraries support RefWorks. We can provide some guidance and training with Zotero, and Mendeley. How do you know which program is right for you? Some things to think about when you choose:

  • What programs are your colleagues using? For example, if fellow researchers are all using Zotero to share citations, you might consider Zotero so that you can share your research, too.
  • Use what you like! There is no one perfect program, so use what you're comfortable with.
  • You can use more than one software. Records can be transferred from one program to another, so don't feel limited to choosing only one.

Need more help?

  • Need more help doing your research or putting together a bibliography? Make an appointment with a Librarian (See the box on the left).
  • Need more help writing your paper? Schedule an appointment with the Writing Center.
  • Want to know the proper format for citations?  See Style/Usage Manuals.
  • Need help citing data?

Reference and Instructional Services Assistant

Helen Cawley
Reach me at:

Hesburgh Library
150A Hesburgh Library
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556

574 631 4039

Mandy Havert

Mandy Havert
Reach me at:

Hesburgh Library
243 Hesburgh Library
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556

(574) 631-6189


This guide was created by Kai Alexis Smith, Librarian-in-Residence 2014-2016.