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Library Research Guides

Manage Citations with Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote

Provides guidance on how to use choose a citation management program and how-to use various citation management programs.

What is citation management software?

Citation management software helps you:

  • organize references, PDFs, and images
  • take notes on references and PDFs
  • format bibliographies and in-text citations in hundreds of citations styles
  • share references and collaborate on projects with colleagues

This guide only covers citation software supported by the library: Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, and Papers.  When deciding which one to use consider your research habits, word processing, and collaboration/sharing needs.  These programs can work with each other and some people may need to use more than one throughout their academic career.


Which citation management software should I use?


  • Are you willing to spend money on software?
  • Do you want the software to enable you to organize and annotate PDFs?
  • Which reference types do you have?
  • Are you or will you be collaborating with others?

Mendeley and Zotero are free software programs available for anyone to use. They both charge for additional storage space and Mendeley charges for private groups with more than 3 collaborators. 

EndNote and Papers can be purchased. Some UM colleges and departments provide free access to EndNote (ex. LSA for graduate students/faculty) so please check before purchasing. They both provide an educational discount.



Some citation programs handle specific reference types better than others. Mendeley was built to manage PDFs and does a much better job handling journal articles and digital book chapters than books or other reference types. Zotero can capture information from a lot of government websites, online newspapers (NYTimes etc), Amazon, and YouTube etc.

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