Choosing a Citation Manager: Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote
The following popular citation managers provide the same basic features and functionality with some exceptions. Below are a few scenarios that might be helpful when choosing a citation manager. Once you have narrowed down the choices, the rest is personal preference. Some tips: Consult the comparison chart below for specific features. Talk to people in your department – some disciplines tend to use one tool more than others. Consult your subject librarian for a recommendation. For a more complete list of citation management options see this Comparison of reference management software article.
|I Need to:||Use:||Why:|
|…work from multiple computers or locations.||Zotero
|Zotero saves your citation library to your local computer, but syncs with multiple computers so you can work from home, work, or school.
Mendeley is a program that lives on your local computer, but syncs with a web account.
EndNote Basic is entirely web-based and can be accessed from any computer with internet access, and can sync with EndNote desktop.
RefWorks is entirely web-based and can be accessed from any computer with internet access.
|…work without an Internet connection.||Zotero
|Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote store your citation libraries locally on your computer.|
|…archive web pages and import citations from sites such as Amazon and ArtSTOR.||Zotero||Zotero allows you to easily save snapshots of web pages and annotate them within your citation library. It is a great tool for scraping citation information from web-based publications and some commercial and social networking sites.|
|…work on a group project or share my citations with others.||Zotero
|Zotero allows you to share your citations through shared folders -- you can give individuals or groups permissions to add and edit the citations in the shared folder. Mendeley allows you to share citations and documents with a group of up to 2 other users, or create a public reading list that is open to all. EndNote Basic allows you to create and share groups with other users. RefWorks allows you to share your citations through shared folders by inviting up to 10 individuals and giving permission to read, annotate, or modify the entries.
|Criteria||Zotero||Mendeley||EndNote||EndNote Basic|| RefWorks
|Web based?||Yes, works with Firefox browser and can sync with online account; connectors for Chrome and Safari available
||Not primarily, but can sync with an online account which is editable||Yes, with EndNote basic account||Yes||Yes, entirely web-based|
|Must be online?||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Cost||Free for basic account, some cost for more online storage space||Free for basic account, some cost for more online storage space||$$, Student discount through computer store||Free||Free when register with with PSU email address. Keep your access after graduation|
|Word-processor compatibility||MS Word, Open Office, Google Docs||MS Word, Open Office, LaTex||MS Office, Open Office, iWork Pages||MS Word||Google Docs, Microsoft Word
|Import from databases||Yes||Yes||Direct export from specific databases||Yes||Yes|
|Import citation info from web pages||Yes, also archives the page and you can add annotations||Yes, with a bookmark for a limited number of sites (mostly publishers or databases)||Yes, with Web Capture tool and EndNote basic account||Yes, with Web Capture tool
Yes with the Save to RefWorks tool for your browser
|Storage capacity||Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 100MB free Zotero file syncing (larger syncing plans available for purchase); or can use WebDav||Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 1GB personal and 100MB shared online space (larger online storage plans available for purchase)||Unlimited local storage||Limited to 50,000 citations and 2 GB of attachment storage||2GB of cloud storage|
|Attach associated files (PDFs, etc.)||Yes, with option to attach automatically||Yes, and can highlight and annotate PDFs||Yes, and can highlight and annotate PDFs||Yes||Yes, and can highlight and annotate PDFs|
|Search full text of PDFs||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Create group or shared libraries||Yes||Yes, free for up to 3 group members (larger group plans available for purchase)
||Yes, with EndNote basic account||Yes||Yes|
|Create bibliography with different styles||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic citation extraction from PDFs||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Other features||Sync library with multiple computers
Use tags to organize/search
|Sync library with multiple computers
Sync with Zotero library
|Insert figures and charts using word processor integration||
Use tags to organize/search
Export references as an RIS or BibTeX file
Last updated February, 2016
For additional help contact the University Libraries’ Citation Tools Help team at: UL-CIT-TOOLS-HELP@lists.psu.edu