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Reference management software

Managing references properly is part of the scientific process. By using a reference management program, your references will be formatted correctly according to the selected reference style.

Save time & create correct references with a reference management program

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Writing references can be a time-consuming task. You save time if you use a reference management program and your references are formatted correctly. There are several different reference management programs that help you organize and use your references. Some examples are EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley and BibTex. Some are license-based and others are freely available online.

By using a reference management program you can create your own library, collect and sort your references, create reference lists and make reference in your text. Which program to choose depends on your needs. For example, if you write your thesis in Word, it works well with, Zotero, Mendeley or Endnote. Writing in Google Drive works well with Zotero. Basic features found in most reference management programs allow you to:

  • Collect references from databases and library directories
  • Organize the references in your own library
  • Use the references in a text document, such as Word or LaTex

Different reference management software

Which reference management software should I use?

There is a lot of reference management software, both as license based and freely available. Most of them offer three basic functions: collect references, organize them and cite in your manuscript. Which one to use depends on the needs and workflow of the individual user. Please read this article in Wikipedia on how the different reference management works and try to find own strategy: Comparison of reference management software

Tips & advice

  • Choose a software which works for your purpose.
  • One document, one reference management software. It’s not possible to connect a document to both EndNote and Zotero or BibTex and Mendeley.
  • It could be problematic to have two libraries of the same software. Using groups or folders is recommended for sorting sources belonging to different ongoing projects.