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Citation management software and tools

Citation or reference 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, all of the following tools can help you: 

  • Access and manage your sources online, all in one place
  • Import references from library databases and websites (some tools also import references from PDFs!)
  • Automatically generate bibliographies and in-text citations within Microsoft Word (some tools also work with OpenOffice and LibreOffice)
  • Share your collection of sources with others
  • Work with NVivo or other research software

SFU Library provides consultations and support for both Zotero and Mendeley.  For help, contact us at citation-managers@sfu.ca.

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

Zotero is a free, open source tool that helps you collect, organize, cite and share your research sources.  Citations can easily be added by dragging and dropping PDFs of articles into your account.  Not sure how to get references from the SFU Library Catalogue into your Zotero Library?

Use of Zotero is free with up to 300MB of storage.  You can get additional storage by using ZotFile or purchasing additional storage.

ZotFile

ZotFile is a plug-in that helps you maximize your Zotero storage space by automatically saving & syncing your PDFs to a dropbox folder or a custom location on your computer (so that you're not using up all your storage space with the PDF files).  ZotFile provides features like: 

  • automatically saving & syncing your PDFs to a dropbox folder or a custom location on your computer
  • automatically renaming your PDFs (based on rules like author, year, publication name, etc.) 
  • extracting your annotations from PDFs (e.g. highlighted text or notes on the PDF) to the notes field in Zotero, so that they're searchable within Zotero

Mendeley

Mendeley is a reference manager to help you organize and share your research and academic social network.  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 bookmarklet to import citations from databases and websites. Not sure how to add a reference from the SFU Library catalogue to your Mendeley Library? 

Other citation management tools

RefWorks

Please note: access to SFU RefWorks has been discontinued as of December 31, 2017, and is no longer supported.
Questions? Contact citation-managers@sfu.ca

EndNote

  • 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 X8 is available for a fee and comes with advanced features, like importing citations from PDFs and annotating PDFs.

Interested in learning more about citation management tools we didn't list here? See this Wikipedia article that compares citation management tools

Comparing citation management tools

If you’re not sure which citation management software is best for you, check out the following comparisons:

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 on 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.

Workshops

Click here to see the schedule, or register for our upcoming workshops.

Workshop slides and handouts:

Up and Running With Zotero [ slides | handout ]
Up and Running With Mendeley [ slides | handout ]