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Choosing a reference manager

The following may help you to decide which reference manager suits your needs:

Which referencing style will you need to use? Are you submitting an article to be published in a journal that uses their own citation style?
EndNote may be best for you – thousands of extra styles can be added to EndNote (some specific to journals). Editing or creating styles is also relatively simple to do with EndNote.

Will you generally use the reference manager on one device (for example a desktop computer or a laptop)?
EndNote may be the reference manager tool for you.

Do you prefer to work online/on the cloud via multiple devices?
Mendeley may be the reference manager for you.

Do you prefer using open source software?
Zotero is the reference manager for you.

Do you add annotations (for example highlight or add notes) to PDF documents?
Mendeley may be the reference manager for you.

Do you have a reference list in a document (for example Word) that you want to add to a reference manager?
Zotero is the reference manager tool for you. Note: Start with CrossRef and references require DOI.

Are most of your references obtained from the Internet?
Mendeley or Zotero may be reference manager tools for you.

Are you required to use LaTeX for the preparation of a paper?
Mendeley may be the reference manager tool for you.

Overview of features:

Features EndNote Zotero Mendeley
Cost? Free for RMIT staff and students Free Free
Available on Windows and Mac OS? Yes Yes Yes
Import from databases? Yes Yes Yes
Add tags to references? Yes Yes Yes
Private groups Yes Yes Yes
Full text searching across PDFs? Yes Yes (not enabled by default) Yes
Extract citations from PDFs? Yes Yes Yes
Annotate and highlight PDFs? Yes Yes Yes
Ability to transfer a library between applications? Yes Yes Yes, with desktop version
Public groups No Yes Yes
RMIT Harvard style Yes Yes Yes
Library support Yes Limited Limited
Organise PDFs and other documents Yes Yes, though the free version has storage limits Yes
Community network? No Yes Yes
Mobile apps for iOS and Android? iPad only Yes (see 3rd party apps) Yes
Selective syncing of documents No Yes Yes
Import citations from web pages? EndNote Online only Yes (can also archive page) Yes
Web based? Limited Yes Yes

Additional information:

Features EndNote Zotero Mendeley
Word processor compatibility MS Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs, Apple Pages MS Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Google Docs MS Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, LaTeX
Storage capacity Unlimited (2gb for EndNote Online) 300mb (free) 100gb (institutional edition)
Other features Insert figures and charts using word processor integration Sync library with multiple computers, use tags to organise and search Sync with library from multiple computers

 

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