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About citation management tools
Citation management tools collect your journal article, book, or other document citations together in one place, and help you create properly formatted bibliographies in almost any style—in seconds. Citation management tools help you keep track of your sources while you work and store your references for future use and reuse.
While each citation management tool provides some unique features, most can help you:
- Access and manage your sources online, all in one place
- Import references from websites, Library databases, and the Library Catalogue
- Automatically generate bibliographies and in-text citations within Microsoft Word (some tools also work with Google Docs, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice)
- Share collections of sources with others
- Work with NVivo (Windows and Mac) or other research software
Privacy notice: Your use of these citation software and services is voluntary. Please be advised that any information you enter on these services is stored on servers located outside of Canada.
Zotero is a free, open source tool that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share your sources. Citations can easily be added by dragging and dropping PDFs of articles into your account, manually entering references, or by using the Zotero Connector in your browser. Use of Zotero is not dependent any affiliation with SFU—you will be able to continue using it after you graduate.
- Zotero Support - help with getting started
- Zotero FAQs - check here to find answers to commonly asked questions
- Zotero Forums - use the forums to troubleshoot issues, suggest new features, and learn about advanced features
- Install plugin for MS Word or LibreOffice - format in-text citations and automatically generate your bibliography
- Zotero for Mobile - third party apps for iPad, iPhone and Android
Learn to use Zotero: Library workshop registration, materials, and recordings
Watch a recorded Zotero workshop
Unable to attend a Zotero workshop or pressed for time?
We have split our hands-on Citations Made Easy: Introduction to Zotero workshop into two recordings. These recordings will arm you with all you need to know to start using Zotero today. Please note that it's important to watch both parts of the workshop in order to harness all the power of Zotero!
Other citation management tools
- Mendeley is a citation management tool that helps you organize and share references. Mendeley is free with up to 2GB of storage. Extra storage is available for a fee.
- Citations can be added by dragging and dropping PDFs of articles into your account. You can use the Mendeley Web Importer to import citations from databases and websites.
- Beginning September 1, 2022, users will no longer be able to download and install Mendeley Desktop (more info). It will be replaced by Mendeley Reference Manager.
- Please note that due to privacy implications, the Mendeley Cite Plug-in cannot be installed in SFU's Microsoft Word environment. Zotero is compatible with SFU's Word environment.
- To import a Mendeley library into Zotero, follow these directions or consult the step-by-step instructions on these slides.
- EndNote Basic is a free web-based service used to store references and create bibliographies, and it offers up to 2GB of storage. Login or sign up here.
- EndNote 20 is available for a fee and comes with advanced features, like importing citations from PDFs and annotating PDFs.
- You can use an Endnote connection file to search SFU Library's book catalogue, and configure the Endnote OpenURL setting to easily locate the SFU Library's full-text links.
- To import an Endnote library into Zotero, follow these directions.
Comparing citation management tools
Not sure which citation management tool is right for you? We recommend Zotero, but you don't have to take our word for it—check out MIT Library's Zotero and Mendeley comparison chart for more information. You can also consult this Wikipedia article that compares citation management tools.
One important point to note: most of the popular citation management products store your data on non-Canadian servers, which means your account information may be subject to US laws, specifically the US Patriot Act. This act allows US authorities to access your personal information. If you are concerned that your personal information is stored outside Canada, do not use these services. SFU Library has been unable to identify any citation management products that store data exclusively on Canadian servers. However, the following tools can be downloaded to your computer and used offline exclusively:
Note that there are no guarantees with regard to the privacy of these tools, since most of them also have online functionality, and using any online features will affect the privacy of your data.