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Citation Managers: Overview

Describes various software available for managing citations.

Open Source Reference Managers

Proprietary Reference Managers






Sente (for Mac OS X and iPads)


About citation managers

Citation managers (aka bibliographic management systems, reference management systems) are a key tool for students and researchers. This software allows you to easily track and manage articles and books you read as part of your studies or academic work. 

Some key features:

  • Import references from websites and databases
  • Store references and organize them
  • Format citations in many styles to select from
  • Create bibliographies
  • Add references at the end of papers
  • Search databases from within the citation manager (some)
  • Share citations and bibliographies with others

Check the links on the left for open source and paid citation managers. 

General Recommendations

Finding a reference manager that works well for you is the most important step. Many academics use Mendeley and RefWorks. But other citation managers can be useful depending on your specialty. BibTex and LaTeX are very useful for mathematicians and computer scientists because they are very good at displaying equations. But beginning researchers can wait before adding them to their tool kit.  Currently the library recommends beginning with Mendeley as it is a reliable and easy to use reference manager, but check with your professors and academic peers for their recommendations. 


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