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Citation Ethics and Citation Managers: Choosing a Citation Manager

Citations are a necessary part of academic writing, but they can also be frustrating. This site will help you figure out when you need to cite, why we cite, how citation managers can help you both manage and cite sources, and where to go to learn more.

What are citation managers?

Citation managers are research project time-savers!

Avoid manually typing and organizing your references in your papers with these great software options! They allow you to build your own database of citations to sources for your research projects. They provide tools to automate in-text citation and bibliography creation for research documents, such as research papers, grant proposals, and article manuscripts. They may also include options to share all or parts of your citation database with others - for collaborative research projects.

Included in this library guide is information about some top citation managers, and contact information for citation manager support at VT University Libraries. Each tab above offers a description of a citation manager and links to an overview or tour, plus further information such as video tutorials and documentation. We encourage you to explore and try out these and other citation managers to find out if one or more will support your research practices!

Citation Manger Comparison Chart

Get & Signup Download from VT Software
Cost Free Desktop* & Online Free for everyone Free for everyone
Access Desktop* and Browser Desktop & Browser Desktop & Browser
Operating Systems Windows, Mac Windows, Mac, Linux Windows, Mac, Linux
Mobile Devices iOS app only None iOS, Android apps
Browser extension? yes yes yes
Cloud Storage? 2 GB free & paid upgrades 2 GB free personal space, 100 MB free shared & paid upgrades 300 MB free & paid upgrades
Works with:      
     MS Word? yes yes yes
     Word Online? no yes no
     Google Docs? EndNote 21 with web account only no yes, in Google Chrome
     LaTeX or Overleaf? .bib export only Sync library with Overleaf* Sync library with Overleaf*, Better BibTeX Plug-in
Organization features? multiple libraries, folders, research notes folders, tags, notes folders, tags, notes
Attach & Annotate PDFs? yes yes yes
Direct links with databases? Web of Science* Scopus and other Elsevier databases* Use browser extension or export/import manually
Shared groups for projects? yes yes yes
Strengths & Special Features Best for 1000+ records management, high customization & multiple libraries Lots of collaboration featuers, includes researcher networking & data repository linkages Advanced browser extension with website capture, has most features for LaTeX users
Get more help & learn outside this guide EndNote Guide Mendeley Help Guides Zotero Documentation & Help
*Only while at Virginia Tech, paid options otherwise

Where can I get help?

Newman Services Desk - 540-231-6340

EndNote - 

Mendeley -

‚ÄčZotero -

NVC Resource Center contacts