Manage Citations with Zotero: Home

This guide provides an overview of citation management tools, as well as citation generators.

What is a Citation Management Tool?

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. 

This guide provides information about Zotero, a commonly used and free software application. There are other applications available such as Mendeley and EndNote; you can find some basic information about these and more on the "other programs" page.

Video: What are Citation Managers?

This video describes how citation managers like Zotero and Mendeley can help you with your research by organizing your citations, research articles, and references.

Citation management software vs. citation generators

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. However, you will encounter a lot of advertising on these sites. Some examples are: 

How to Use Citation Management Software in the Computer Labs

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:

  • Log into the web version of ZoteroMendeley, or EndNote
  • Install the browser plugins/extensions to save citations for your Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote account.
  • Install Zotero desktop application on the lab computers and sync it your account
  • Install the Mendeley Chrome extension
  • Install the EndNote Firefox extension
  • Copy and paste static citations from Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote into your word processor

What you cannot do in the labs:

  • Install the Mendeley or EndNote desktop applications
  • Install word processor plugins for citation management software


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.


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.