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Citation Management Tools - EndNote, Zotero & Mendeley

Which to Choose?

Citation management tools can help you organize and access the works you read in your research. There are pros and cons to each, so the issue is really finding the one that works best with your own needs and habits. At the moment, Stevens does not subscribe to any standalone program, so the three we discuss here are EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley.

Some considerations to keep in mind when deciding which one(s) to use:

  • Cost
    • Mendeley and Zotero provide basic accounts with some storage for free, and fees are incurred for greater storage capacity. EndNote Basic is available for free.
  • Access
    • Mendeley and Zotero both have downloadable desktop programs that sync with your online libraries. EndNote Basic does not, but EndNote X8, the EndNote upgrade, does for a fee.
  • Storage
    • The basic accounts for all three provide some storage space for downloading the full text of articles and other documents. Mendeley and EndNote Basic each have 2 GB and Zotero has 300 MB.
  • Citation Styles
    • Mendeley and Zotero allow for the import of new citation styles alongside the many styles already included. This is of particular importance if you're formatting an article for submission to a journal with its own style. EndNote Basic does not (though EndNote X8 does).
  • Group Work
    • They all allow for group access to saved materials, but EndNote Basic only provides citations, not the full article, whereas the others do both. Mendeley is made to be a social network for reference management so is the most intuitive at group work.
  • Database Integration
    • EndNote Basic directly links to Web of Science (both owned by the same company), while EBSCO databases also provide a means to export a reference right to EndNote. Scopus and ScienceDirect allow you to easily save references to Mendeley (all three are owned by the same company). Zotero, being independent, isn't owned by any database company, but actually provides the easiest way to import a reference through the browser plug-in that lets you press a button on your browser to import whatever it is you're looking at, from a database or on the web.
  • LaTeX
    • All three can export references to BibTex for use with LaTeX.