You may have heard that there are many programs available to help you organize, access, and cite your research. Two particularly popular options are Zotero and Mendeley.

Reference management and bibliographic generation sound tedious and unnecessary, but using one of these programs will actually save you lots of time! These programs can help you:

  • Organize all your resources by date, author, or attachment
  • Annotate resources with helpful notes
  • Easily cite all your resources at once in a multitude of styles
  • Store your research in a personal online library so that it can be accessed from anywhere through the cloud

Some of the main features of these programs include:

  1. While you research, you can send resources’ citation information right from your browser to Mendeley or Zotero.  This means that you’ll be able to find these references later so you don’t have to write them down as you go.  Usually (although there are some exceptions) this is a very easy process.
  2. You can create properly formatted bibliographies from the references you save with just the click of a button. Most journal styles and citation formats are already inputted into Zotero and RefWorks (I’ve never had a problem finding the citation style of a Brescia professor).
  3. When you’re ready to write your paper, Zotero and Mendeley will work with your word processor to insert citations right into the body of your text. This really reduces the amount of time you need to spend worrying about in-text citations and bibliographies.

So Which Should I Pick?

There are always downsides to things that sound this awesome, especially when they involve technology. With both programs, you still have to be diligent and pay attention while creating your list of references, as errors may occur in the retrieved information and generated citations. Both Zotero and Mendeley do not necessarily format your bibliographies the way that your professors require, so be sure to follow your assignment instructions. Check out this comparison chart for a more in-depth look at what makes these programs unique.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what these programs offer. If you’d like to learn more you can visit the Western Libraries Citation Management Software page.

This post was written by Jennifer on January 25th, 2018.