A citation manager helps you keep track of articles and books as you find them, tag and annotate them, and easily create citations and bibliographies in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or other writing software. Using any citation manager will be more efficient for most scholars than not using one at all.
Most citation managers consist of three parts:
Even if you use a citation manager, you will still need to consider what citation style you plan to use (even though the formatting with many citation managers is automatic). This guide also include information about citation styles.
If you have questions about choosing a citation manager, contact a librarian. You can contact one of the librarians in this guide or your subject librarian for guidance. Also, feel free to contact us to when you have questions about best practices or if have trouble with these tools.
RefWorks is provided by Penn Libraries for the Penn community (including alumni). It is a well-established platform, but has limitations in terms of working with PDF files.
Endnote works well for the health sciences and for large collections of articles, despite some technical and installation issues.
Zotero is an open-source software program that is easy to use. It has screenshot and simple web archiving capabilities.
Mendeley is research management software, so it includes search and PDF annotation. It suffers from accuracy issues.