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Manage Citations and PDFs with Zotero and Mendeley

Information on using Zotero and Mendely for citation and PDF management

What is citation management software?

Citation management software helps you:

  • organize references, PDFs, and images

  • take notes on references and PDFs

  • format bibliographies and in-text citations in hundreds of citations styles

  • share references and collaborate on projects with colleagues

This guide covers citation software supported by the library: Zotero and Mendeley,.  When deciding which one to use consider your research habits, word processing, and collaboration/sharing needs.  These programs can work with each other and some people may need to use more than one throughout their academic career.


Which citation management software should I use?


  • Are you willing to spend money on software?
  • Do you want the software to enable you to organize and annotate PDFs?
  • Which reference types do you have?
  • Are you or will you be collaborating with others?

Mendeley and Zotero are free software programs available for anyone to use. They both charge for additional storage space and Mendeley charges for private groups with more than 3 collaborators. ‚Äč


Some citation programs handle specific reference types better than others. Mendeley was built to manage PDFs and does a much better job handling journal articles and digital book chapters than books or other reference types. Zotero can capture information from a lot of government websites, online newspapers (NYTimes etc), Amazon, and YouTube etc.