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Civil/Environmental/Geological Engineering (CEE/GLE) : Managing your Citations

Research Guide

Why use a citation manager?

Citation managers enable you to collect, store, cite, and share your research resources.  They also generate bibliographies in a variety of citation formats (such as APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) and they also help you create in-text citations when writing a paper.  This page provides you with information about different citation managers and where to go for more help. 

The campus currently supports EndNote, EndNote Web, Mendeley, and Zotero. For a comprehensive comparison chart, please visit the Citation Manager's Compare Features page.

For more information on specific citation styles, please see the Citing Sources research guide.  

Citation Managers supported by UW-Madison Libraries

EndNote Basic logo        EndNote logo     Mendeley logo         Zotero logo


Choosing a Citation Manager: Academic Department and Advisor

Check to see if your advisor or department recommends a program.  Also ask other students in your research group to see which program they use.  Using the same citation managers as those who you work with makes it easier to share data with one another and troubleshoot problems together.  

How much does a citation manager cost?

Zotero and Mendeley are free.  Storage of the first 100 MB of data in Zotero and the first 2GB of information in Mendeley is free.  If you would like to increase the amount of storage space in either citation manager, you can do so for an annual fee.

EndNote Basic is licensed by the UW and free to you.

EndNote Basic can perform basic functions by itself; however it is intended to be used with EndNote desktop, which costs about $80.00.

The university's license with RefWorks ended as of June 2013, an individual RefWorks account costs $100 per year.  

Choosing a Citation Manager: Desktop, Laptop, IPad, or Computer Lab?

Do you have a laptop, desktop, or do you work in various computer labs?  The free web-based programs like Zotero and Mendeley use cloud storage for your data which makes it possible to work from different computers.  Mendeley has a mobile app and a third party has created a mobile app for Zotero.  If you're going to be writing a lot on your laptop or one desktop, then you may want client based software like EndNote desktop.

Choosing a Citation Manager: Storage of PDFs and Retrieval of Metadata

If you already have an electronic collection of PDFs, EndNote Desktop, Mendeley, and Zotero can read the citation data attached to each document.  The citation manager will pull data from the file and populate the necessary fields (title, author, publisher, year, etc).

Zotero and Mendeley have an added feature that allows you to make notes directly into the pdf file and mark it up.   

Mendeley can also sync PDFs via Box: Sync Attachments via UW-Madison Box

EndNote Basic and Mendeley offer 2GB of cloud file storage and Zotero's free version offers 300 MB of cloud file storage.

Choosing a Citation manager: Sharing

Data can be transferred out of any citation manager and imported into another.  

Zotero and Mendeley have a feature that allows you to collaborate with others using the same program.  Mendeley allows you to create "groups" which other users can join.  Within each group, you can share folders, pdfs, and any annotations that you added to a pdf file.  Zotero also allows you to create groups and share with other users.  Both programs have different limitations to group size and settings.  


For more detailed documentation on citation managers, please visit the Citation Manager Help Page.  There is a section for each citation manager (Mendeley will be added soon) along with contact information for librarians who are specialists with citation managers.

Please visit the following pages for tutorials created by each citation manager:

Mendeley video tutorials

EndNote video tutorials

EndNote Web tutorials

Zotero video tutorials