Social Work *: Citation Managers

Randall Information Center | USC School of Social Work

How to Choose a Citation Manager

Citation managers allow you to save your references, organize them into folders and generate bibliographies. These tools will help you keep track of the numerous articles and other resources you're using for your projects. 

Citation managers will also help you properly cite your references when you're using other people's ideas and research in your own paper. Check out this APA guide for more information on properly citing your sources.

Some of the widely used managers are:

Which manager is right for me?

I Need to:

Use:

Why:

…work from multiple computers or locations.

Zotero
Mendeley
RefWorks

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.
RefWorks is entirely web-based and can be accessed from any computer with internet access.

…work without an Internet connection.

Zotero
Mendeley
 

Zotero and Mendeley store your citation libraries locally on your computer.

…archive web pages and import citations from mostly web-based publications?”

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
Mendeley
RefWorks

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 3 other users, or create a public reading list that is open to all. 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.

…save mostly print based citations (such as books)

RefWorks?

Mendeley?

Mendeley and RefWorks allows you to enter references manually for print-based citations.

 

Citation Manager Comparison Chart

Criteria

Zotero

Mendeley

 RefWorks

Web based?

Yes, works with Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari with brower extensions.

Not primarily, but can sync with an online account which is editable

Yes, entirely web-based

Must be online?

No

No

Yes

Cost

Free for basic account, some cost for more online storage space

Free for basic account, some cost for more online storage space

Free when register with your USC email address. Keep your access after graduation

Word-processor compatibility

MS Word, Open Office, Google Docs

MS Word, LibreOffice

Google Docs, Microsoft Word

Import from databases

Yes

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 the Save to RefWorks tool for your browser

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

Search full text of PDFs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Create group or shared libraries

Yes

Yes, free for up to 3 group members (larger group plans available for purchase)

Yes

Create bibliography with different styles

Yes

Yes

Yes

Automatic citation extraction from PDFs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Other features

Sync library with multiple computers. Use tags to organize/search. Export references as an RIS file. Download over 8,000 citation styles

Sync library with multiple computers.Import Zotero library in Zotero.SQLite format. Use tags to organize/search. Export references in RIS or BibTeX file.

Use tags to organize/search. Export references as an RIS or BibTeX file.

*both charts adapted from Penn State University Libraries