*Education: Citation Managers

Library Resources for the field of Education

Organizing your citations

This page has information on citation managers, which 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 the USC Libraries' APA Guides for additional information.

Citation Managers

Refworks     |     Mendeley    |     Zotero    |     Endnote                

This chart compares RefWorks, Mendeley and Zotero and helps you consider what you need in a citation manager.

There are a lot of options for managing your citations.  All of the tools below provide similar functionality:

  1. They allow you to create custom folders and tags for your citations,
  2. Save a link to anything you find online,
  3. Choose automatic APA formatting,
  4. Store your data on their servers.

Each tool offers some unique features which may help you decide which one is right for you. 

How to choose: There is no right answer, it is just a matter of preference:  which features and interface you like which one addresses your needs.You might consider asking other students and faculty studying and teaching in Education which one they use.  



ProQuest RefWorks brand logo

Key Features:

  • Web-based
  • Able to share folders 
  • Automatically creates formatted bibliographies
  • Includes plug-in for Microsoft Word to insert references directly from your RefWorks folders
  • Rrequires a subscription but USC offers this free to students and you can continue using it after you graduate
  • USC's Group Code: RWUSC (needed when starting an account)

If you have never used RefWorks before, start by checking our RefWorks Guide which provides step by step instructions.


Key Features:

  • Offers both a desktop and web client
  • Web browser plug-in for easy citation importing
  • Allows you to collaborate with colleagues and create groups
  • Can extract bibliographic data from pdf files
  • Syncs with other citation tools
  • Allows you to add sticky notes and highlighting to pdf files
  • Provides plugins for Word and OpenOffice to create bibliographies
  • Drag-and-drop citations into your paper
  • Provides research recommendation and trends based on tags and citations


"Zotero" brand logo

Key Features:

  • Firefox plugin so it works wherever Firefox does
  • Integrates with Firefox browser to provide 1-click importing
  • Desktop client available
  • Will store any file type
  • Archives web pages (i.e. stores them as they are when you save them)
  • Provides plugins for Word and Open Office to create bibliographies
  • Drag-and-drop citations into your paper
  • Create shared or group libraries
  • Publish your library or a certain folder as an RSS for others to see


"EndNote...Bibliographies Made Easy" brand logo

Key Features:

  • Desktop and web-based platforms
  • Automatically creates bibliographies/endnotes
  • Microsoft Word plugin
  • Archives PDF files
  • Many databases provide direct EndNote export of citations

EndNote login page