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THL Citation Management

Tutorials provided by the Taubman Health Sciences Library on citation management programs.

How they work

Some programs are web only; most are some combination of web & desktop.

EndNote is a desktop program that can be synced with EndNote Online.

Mendeley has both a desktop & a web version.

Zotero is a desktop program with a web backup.

Introduction to Citation Management Tools

Having difficulty managing and citing your sources? Do you have hundreds of tabs open on your device so that you can read some articles "some day"?  Citation management software is right for you! It helps you to:

  • Keep track of the sources you're using for your research
  • Organize the sources you've found with folders or tags
  • Share those sources with collaborators
  • Automatically create and format a bibliography and/or in-text citations/footnotes in a variety of styles.

Ease of use

EndNote has a steeper learning curve.  It's essential to use it often to retain your skills.

Mendeley & Zotero are much easier to learn to use & to continue to use.


Will you need to work with other people?  If so, Mendeley, & Zotero are the best choices.  You can collaborate with EndNote, using EndNote Online to sync with the desktop version of the program, but it's a much clunkier process.  Remember also that with EndNote, all collaborators need to be using the same version.  If you're not, then one person should add the references using EndNote.

With Mendeley & Zotero, you can create private groups that you can share with others.  In these groups, you can share PDFs & any comments that you make on them, even with people who don't have access to those particular journal articles at their home institutions. Mendeley has a limit of 25 collaborators per private group; Zotero does not have a limit.

No matter which citation management program you choose, make sure that all collaborators understand which program will be used in the final document and how citations will be handled.


THL supports 3 citation management programs:  (in alphabetical order) EndNote, Mendeley & Zotero.

For many people, price is an important consideration.  For U-M staff, EndNote can be downloaded from the MiWorkspace Software Center. For most students, EndNote must be purchased, unless you work in (or, occasionally) are a student in certain schools or departments.  You can find the current price at the Tech Shop.  While the student price is about half the list price, it's still an investment.

For most students, unless you are planning on a career in research, we recommend using one of the free programs:  Mendeley or Zotero.  With Mendeley & Zotero, you can purchase more storage space, but the free version should work perfectly well.