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Research Guides

Citation Styles & Tools: Citation Management Software

Quick help on citing sources and tools for storing and organizing sources.

Citation Tools 101

What are citation tools?

Citation tools (aka citation managers, citation management software) let you store, organize, and share your research citations. They also automatically format your bibliographies into whatever style you need (APA, MLA, Chicago, and many more). 

Why should I use a citation tool?

Citation tools save you time during your research and writing process. They let you save sources quickly so that all your research is easy to find. They also work with Microsoft Word to automatically format your in-text citations and bibliographies. 

Which citation tool should I use?

UW Libraries supports four citation managers: EndNote Basic, Mendeley, RefWorks, and Zotero. These citation managers provide the same basic features -- they allow you to save citations, organize them into folders or libraries, and generate bibliographies and citations as you write. 

To decide which tool is right for you, start by looking through the chart below and talking with people in your department about the tools they use and why. Once you choose a tool, know that you can always change your mind; sources can easily be transferred between tools. (Please note that attachments don't always transfer.)

The best way to figure it out is to set up an account on one of the tools and try it! It can also help to make an individualized appointment with a graduate student librarian at the Research Commons to learn more about choosing and using the tools. We are here to help you!


*EndNote also has a desktop version available for purchase from the UW bookstore

*'Save to' widgets have varying levels of functionality. Zotero and RefWorks seem to be the best at gathering data from various sources.

*For a longer of list of citation managers and their features, see Wikipedia’s Comparison of Reference Management Software

Table last updated: 11/14/17

Academic Social Networks

Some of the citation managers supported at UW (Zotero, Mendeley) include social networking aspects. Here are some other services that facilitate communication with academic colleagues who share research interests: