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Citation Management: Overview

An overview and comparison of different citation managers, including RefWorks, Zotero, EasyBib, and BibMe.

Quick Links

Popular citation management tools available for free:

See the tabs above for more info on each one.  For help deciding which one to use, see our comparison.

Citation Guides

What is a citation manager and why should I use one?


Citation Management

 

What is a citation manager?

A citation manager is a tool or program that helps you collect, organize, and create citations for your research in whatever format you prefer.  See our comparison of citation managers to help you decide which one to use for your needs.

Why would I want to use one?

If you are doing an extensive research project and want to keep track of your citations, it is a good idea to use a citation manager because all your citations are in once place where you can:  

  • organize citations by topic or paper
  • import citations from library databases or websites
  • create a properly formatted bibliography or references page from a number of citation formats (e.g. MLA, APA)
  • link to word processing programs to easily reference citations and insert footnotes or endnotes
  • add notes for citations you have used or plan to use

They are particularly useful when you are researching an area where you know you will do further research down the road. If you plan to write many papers on a particular subject, a citation manager will keep all the information together for you.

Remind me, what are citations again?

When you write a research paper, you generally need to refer to any resources you used for information, whether these are published papers in peer-reviewed journals, websites, or interviews you conducted in person.  Citations describe what those resources are, including titles, authors, publication dates, journal titles, and other identifying information.  Citations often need to be in a particular format, such as MLA or APA.  This is dependent on the subject area or particular course that you are writing a paper for.