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IST Research Starter

Citation Styles

Which citation style to use depends on the discipline of your course and professor for whom you are writing.

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue provides great overviews of the three most common citation styles: APA, MLA, and Chicago. 

There also are many citation helpers on the internet. Remember, when you are using a citation builder you should always double check the format of the citation before including it in the final version of your paper - they may be machines but they are not always perfect!

The Librarians are here to help if you still have questions!

Citation Managers

Many science faculty members at Doane encourage their students to use a reference manager like Zotero or Mendeley. Check out our comprehensive guide to these two tools for more information. Here is a quick overview:





Best for:

  • creating reference lists and in-text citations
  • integrates better with library systems, especially for saving multiple records at one time

Not so good for:

  • saving PDFs (the free version only allows 300MB of storage)


Best for:

  • saving PDF files of articles (the free version provides 2GB of storage)
  • highlighting and annotating PDF document
  • searching millions of resources added by other users

Not so good for:

  • citing web pages (can be hit or miss)
  • saving multiple records at one time (it can't do this)
  • creating private groups (free version limited to one group with three members)


Installing Zotero

Go to and click Download Now. There are two parts you need to use Zotero:

  1. Click the “Zotero Connector” link specific to your browser --Chrome, Firefox or Safari -- and install the add-on extension. Alternatively, you can use the bookmarklet (click on the link and drag the "Save to Zotero" button to your browser's Bookmarks Toolbar/Bar).
  2. Download and install the app, “Zotero 5.0 for Windows” (or whichever is your operating system). This will install software on your computer so you can work in Zotero without being online.

Once you've got the app installed, you’ll see a Zotero icon on your desktop. Open it to run Zotero.


Saving Citations

Zotero “watches” the pages you view to see if any of them contain citations to books, articles or other sources. If Zotero detects that you're looking at a book or article on a catalog, database, or a site like, Wikipedia or the New York Times, you'll see a book or page icon appear in the address bar of your browser. Just click the "paper" icon or "Save to Zotero" button, and Zotero will automatically save the citation. A box will appear in the lower right corner of the screen, like this:


Saving Multiple Citations at Once

If you're on a page of search results with many items, you'll see a folder icon instead. Click this to get a list of all the items on the page, and check off the ones you want to save.


Saving Webpages

Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from regular web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library. To save a citation to a web page: 

  • Click on the gray webpage icon, OR
  • Right-click on the icon and the "Save to Zotero (Webpage with/without Snapshot."

Zotero automatically saves a “snapshot” of the page; a copy of the page is saved to your computer. It includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline you'll still be able to view your copy.



Syncing Your Library

If you regularly use more than one computer to do your research, Zotero can keep your library up to date on all of them through the sync feature. Zotero stores a copy of your library on the server and checks it for updates whenever you open your library on a different computer. WARNING: All your computers must be running the same version of Zotero and be configured to sync to the server.

  1. To set up this option, open Preferences under Edit and select the Sync tab. Enter your Zotero user name and password.
  2. Check the "sync automatically" box. Zotero wil upload your library to the server.
  3. Repeat this configuration on each of your computers. Any updates you make on one of your computers will be reflected on the others. This even works to synchronize your library among Windows, Mac and Linux computers.


Writing with Zotero and Word

Place your cursor in your Word file where you want the in-text citation to appear. Click the Zotero tab in Word to get to the toolbar. (For Mac, look for the Zotero sub-menu under the “script” menu.) The first button on the toolbar is the Insert Citation button. To add a citation, click the first button ("Insert Citation") on the toolbar. Select the reference you want to cite and click Enter. Zotero will add the citation at the location of your cursor. At the end of your paper, click the second button ("Insert Bibliography"). Your bibliography will appear, and new citations will be added automatically. Change bibliographic styles with the "Document Preferences" button on the toolbar.

This guide was created by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.




Get Started

Go to and click Create a free account.

  1. Enter your name, email address and password. Select your field of study and academic status on the next screen. You can skip the academic institution window -- Doane doesn't have a agreement for Mendeley.
  2. The Get Mendeley page will open. Follow the instructions on the page to download Mendeley Desktop. Sign in to open it.
  3. After the account has been created, you will see the introductory page and to the left, My Library.


Importing PDF Documents

  1. Click the Add Documents button, then navigate to a particular PDF file on your computer. Click Open. OR
  2. Drag a PDF file (or a folder of PDFs) into Mendeley.

Quick Tip: If you select the arrow next to the “Add Documents” button and select Watch Folder you can designate a folder in which current PDFs and future documents added to the folder will be automatically imported into Mendeley.

For PDF files that are not fully recognized, you will see “These details need reviewing. You can mark them correct, or search by title in Google Scholar.” If there are results in Google Scholar, the details will automatically update after you click the Search by Title button. Otherwise, you can manually type information.


Importing from the Web

If you don’t have a PDF file (or if it’s unavailable) you can use the Web Importer in tandem with database searches.

  1. In Mendeley Desktop go to Tools. Select Install Web Importer.
  2. Click and drag the "Save to Mendeley" button onto your browser's bookmarks bar.

When you find a record you would like to import, click on the title to view the full record. Click the "Save to Mendeley" bookmarklet, and you will see a pop‐up window that confirms the imported record.

Note: The Web Importer works with many databases that the libraries license, including other free resources such as Amazon, but it might not work with every resource. In those cases it will just take a web snapshot. If the Web Importer does not work, just download the PDF and see if Mendeley can fully recognize the PDF. 



Syncing Your Library

Syncing keeps one file, which is located in two locations, identical. Changes made in one location are automatically sent to the second location. When you make changes within Mendeley Desktop, the changes are sent to, and vice versa. Syncing ensures that there is only one updated version of My Library.

IMPORTANT: You will need to sign into Mendeley Desktop each time you log into a computer since Mendeley's local data is reset everytime you log off a computer. This maintains privacy at public workstations. Note that Mendeley Desktop only syncs automatically when you launch the application. When you are in the library you need to click the Sync button before logging out of the workstation.



Microsoft Word Toolbar

You can integrate Mendeley into Microsoft Word to add in‐text citations as well as a bibliography. To install the Word toolbar on your own computer, go to the menu in Mendeley Desktop. Select Tools > Install MS Word Plugin. When you are ready to insert a citation click on References at the top of the screen. In the middle, you will see a toolbar called Mendeley Cite‐O‐Matic; select "Insert a citation" then search for the appropriate citations. You must have both Mendeley and Word running to use the toolbar. 


PDF Annotation

When double‐clicking an item with an attached PDF, a new tab is opened and a new toolbar appears that allows you to highlight text, copy and paste selections, and insert notes. You can also rotate, zoom, and view in full‐screen.

The built-in PDF viewer gives you fast access, eliminating the need to open a separate application. (If you do have another preferred PDF reader, you can right‐click and select Open File Externally which launches your default PDF application.) You can share your annotations by going to the menu and selecting File > Export PDF with Annotations. You can save the file with or without the notes, which means you can share highlighted areas but keep your notes private. There is also an option to email the file directly to a contact or colleague.

From Washington University in St. Louis Libraries


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