Writing references can be a time-consuming task. You save time if you use a reference management software and your references are formatted correctly. Several different reference management software help you organize and use your references. Some examples are EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley. 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 references in your text. Which program to choose depends on your needs. For example, writing your thesis in Word works well with Zotero, Mendeley or EndNote. Writing in Google Docs works well with EndNote 21 or Zotero. Basic features found in most reference management programs allow you to:
Collect references from databases and library catalogues
Organize the references in your own library
Use the references in a text document, such as Word or LaTeX
Choosing a reference management software
There is a lot of reference management softwares, 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. Have a look at
Comparison of reference management software
in Wikipedia on how the different reference management works and try to find own strategy.
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.
Different reference management software
EndNote is a reference management software that's available in two versions; a desktop-based, EndNote 21, which is downloaded to your computer, and a web version, EndNote Online. The web version has fewer features, but is usually sufficient for students. Employees and students at KTH have access to both versions. EndNote is available for Mac and Windows. EndNote Online works with Microsoft Word. EndNote 21 works both with Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
Anyone can create an account in
. If you use your KTH e-mail when you create the account, your EndNote Online account will be linked to KTH. You'll have access to more storage space.
In EndNote Online, a limited number of reference styles are available. If the style you want to use is missing, contact
and we can add it, if your account is linked to KTH.
(films) from Lund University Library, EndNote 20
The library also organizes
in EndNote for doctoral students and researchers.
Mendeley is a free reference management program owned by Elsevier. There are currently two versions: Mendeley Reference Manager, which works both web- and desktop-based, and Mendeley Desktop, which is downloaded to the computer. The program offers some free storage space, which can be upgraded if needed. Mendeley is available for Mac, Windows and Linux and works with Microsoft Word.
is a free, open source reference management program. It is downloaded to your own computer. The program offers some free storage space, which can be upgraded if needed. Zotero is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and works with Microsoft Word, LibreOffice and Google Docs.
When using BibTeX or Biber / BibLaTeX, you must collect your references in a bib file. If you choose to manually maintain a bib file, you need to make sure that the information in it is accurate and sufficient. If you instead export a bib file from reference management software, this control is simplified to some extent.
If you write LaTeX with Overleaf, you can download references from your Mendeley or Zotero library. This requires a "professional account" with Overleaf, something all KTH students and employees have access to if they log in with their KTH account.