Citation management software allows you to download citations and articles from various websites and databases, electronically store and organize the citations, annotate and highlight articles, and format the citations for your paper and bibliography. Citation management software also makes it easy to share references with other researchers. We recommend Zotero and Mendeley as the best free options for PSU researchers.
The PSU Library provides support for:
This video describes how citation managers like Zotero and Mendeley can help you with your research by organizing your citations, research articles, and references.
Free to Use - Zotero and Mendeley are both free for anyone and you only have to pay if you exceed your free storage limit (300 MB for Zotero, 2 GB for Mendeley).
Capture, save and add value to citations - Capture snapshots of web pages, library catalog and database searches, and to export PDF articles. You can add value to your research by adding notes and annotations, or by attaching related files (Word, PDF, PPT, etc.) to your citations.
Collaborative tools - Share your citations and collaborate with other researchers publicly, and both Zotero and Mendeley have the ability to create private groups (unlimited in Zotero, limited to 1 group with 3 people in Mendeley).
Applications to take your research with you - Zotero and Mendeley have desktop applications, browser extensions, and mobile applications. They also have word processor plugins that allow you to create dynamic citations and bibliographies that can update if needed. Finally, Zotero and Mendeley will be available to you even after you leave PSU.
Advantages to Using Zotero
Disadvantages to Using Zotero
Advantages to Using Mendeley
Disadvantages to Using Mendeley
This video compares the differences between Zotero and Mendeley, two citation managers recommended for researchers at Portland State.
Zotero and EndNote both have accessibility features, including screen reader compatibility, customizable keyboard configurations, and support either from the community of developers or from the company.
Zotero will work with in tandem with accessibility web extensions you already have installed, and has additional 3rd party plugins available for further customization. Not all Zotero browser extensions and plugins work with screen readers
Mendeley is neither accessible to screen readers nor ADA compliant.
EndNote is ADA compliant. More information can be found on the EndNote website.
Citation management software (including Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote) is not installed on computers in PSU’s computer labs.
What you can do from the labs:
What you cannot do in the labs:
If you only need a quick citation for a bibliography, you may benefit from a citation generator. Citation generators take information that you input about your resource (e.g. journal article, web page, book) and format it into a citation, which you may then able to copy and paste into your document. Citation generators normally support only a few citation styles and you need to input your citation information manually. They are useful if you need a quick citation and you do not need the more robust features in citation management software.
There are many free citation generators available and you should never have to pay for one. For more information on citation generators, visit the citation generator page.
Special thanks to Ohio University Library, University of Minnesota Library, and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Library. These institutions made their instructional videos and resources available under the Creative Commons license and allowed us to re-use them here at PSU. Thanks to Adele Larson, who drafted this guide.