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Reference management software

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

Save time and create correct references

Workshops about references

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