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Citation Management and Writing Tools: Citation Management Tools

A guide describing software to help with citation management, writing, and other parts of the research process.

Which tool is right for you?

The MIT Libraries support Zotero and Mendeley. Which program is right for you? Some things to think about when you choose...

 

 

Zotero

Mendeley

Strengths

  • Simple download of records
  • Good for managing a variety of formats, including web pages
  • Lots of functionality in an open-source product.
  • Downloads records from several databases that don't work with other citation products.
  • Share citations and documents with others
  • Great for managing PDFs
  • Does a good job of pulling citation metadata from PDFs
  • Can share citations and documents with others
Type

Desktop software and browser add-on for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Limited functionality through website.

Desktop software and web-based. Browser add-on for IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

Cost

Free with 300MB of back-up storage. Storage & group upgrades available for a fee. Open source. 

Download Zotero

Free with 2GB of web space. MIT users have access to enhanced storage and group upgrades. See our Mendeley guide for details.

Download Mendeley

Learning curve Quick to learn; simple design, many online user guides and demos. Quick to learn; simple interface

How does it work?

Zotero can tell when there is bibliographic information on a website and and icon shows in the browser's URL bar. Click the icon to add the item to your Zotero references. Zotero will automatically retrieve metadata for PDFs that are added.

Click the browser plugin icon to save bibliographic information from websites. Mendeley will automatically retrieve metadata for PDFs that are added.

What kinds of records can you import and organize (PDFs, images, etc.)?

Traditional formats (books, articles, patents), as well as web pages.

PDFs, web screenshots, and other file types can also be stored in the records.

Best with records for traditional formats (articles, books, etc.).

PDFs and other file types can also be stored in the records.

Can you search within PDFs

Yes. Make PDFs searchable by choosing to index them in the preferences menu.

Yes. Highlights the words you are searching for.

Are records in your library viewable by others? Yes, if you choose to share them. You can set up individual and group profiles and share records. Yes, if you choose to share them. You can set up individual and group profiles and share records.
Can you export records to other citation software? Yes Yes
Does it work with word processing software? Yes. Works with Word, LibreOffice, and Google docs; also works with LaTeX through BibTeX Yes. Works with Word and OpenOffice; also works with LaTeX through BibTeX.
Does it back up your records? Yes, if you choose to back up or sync your Zotero library. A small amount of storage for attachments is free. Yes. With an MIT account, 100GB of storage is free.
Can you annotate PDFs (highlight & make notes)? No Yes
Other important features

Can be used for collaborative work with groups.

Will automatically attach PDFs to records if you choose.

If you back up records, you can sync multiple computers.

Very good for collaborative work.

Will automatically attach PDFs to records if you choose.

If you back up records, you can sync multiple computers.

Does it have a mobile site or app? Yes, a mobile site through zotero.org. There's also an app called ZotPad for iPhone/iPad Yes, an app for iPhone/iPad
Link to vendor documentation Documentation Support