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Mendeley

An introduction to Mendeley, the bibliographic citation program with a social media component.

Citation Programs and Software

What is citation management software?

Citation management software, also called “bibliographic software”, allows you to organize, store, and retrieve information, such as citations for books, articles, and Web sites. You can simultaneously import records and PDFs from databases. You can add abstracts, keywords and other functions that enhance and improve the efficiency of your project. The citation manager then works with word-processing software to insert properly formatted footnotes or citations into a paper and create a bibliography.

What it won't do:

It will not always create a perfect bibliography or reference list according to your favorite style. For example, you will still have to know APA, MLA, Chicago or Turabian and check over your results. It will not correct errors or omissions that were in the database from which you retrieved references. It will not always know what type of material you are putting into it from a database (e.g. it cannot always distinguish a proceeding from a book).

What are online citation builders?

Citation builders are free, online sites that allow you to quickly create citations and bibliographies but not to store information or link to word-processing software. For a list, simply Google "citation builders" for a list. AU students are encouraged to learn how to use citation management software rather than relying on citation builders.  

How do I know which tool to use?

There is no one program that currently works best to support everyone's needs. Online citation builders are helpful when you are in a rush and have a small number of sources to manage. Citation software needs more time to learn, but is extremely useful for handling larger amounts of or more complex citations and for its word processing compatibility. There are a variety of citation software tools available and each has its own strengths. The Library officially recommends and supports Zotero and also has support for Mendeley and EndNote Basic. Please see the comparison table of citation software below. 

Citation Software Capabilities

AU Library primarily supports EndNote Basic, Zotero, and Mendeley so we will focus on comparing these three. Other popular tools include RefWorks and ProCite.

I Need to:

Use:

Why:

…work from multiple computers or locations.

Zotero

Mendeley     

EndNote Basic

Zotero saves your citation library to your local computer, but syncs with multiple computers so you can work from home, work, or school.

Mendeley is a program that lives on your local computer, but syncs with a web account.

EndNote Basic is fully-cloud based so you can access it from any device.

…work without an Internet connection.

Zotero

Mendeley

Zotero, Mendeley store your citation libraries locally on your computer.

…archive web pages and import citations from sites such as Amazon, Flickr, and ArtSTOR.

Zotero

Zotero allows you to easily save snapshots of web pages and annotate them within your citation library. It is a great tool for scraping citation information from web-based publications and some commercial and social networking sites.

…work on a group project or share my citations with others.

Zotero      

Mendeley 

EndNote Basic

Zotero allows you to share your citations through shared folders -- you can give individuals or groups permissions to add and edit the citations in the shared folder. 

Mendeley allows you to share citations and documents with a group of up to 2 other users, or create a public reading list that is open to all.

EndNote Basic allows you to share with up to 1,000 other users.

...work with unusual or complex citation styles, cite unusual document types or create my own document type

Any

Zotero and Mendeley both use .csl (citation style language) scripts drawn from the citationstyles.org repository, which contains over 10,000 styles or variations of styles. EndNote uses a proprietary format, .ens files, and has over 7,000 styles or variations of styles in its repository.

...work extensively with PDFs

Mendeley, Zotero

Mendeley and Zotero both have the ability to extract citation information automatically from PDFs, PDF full-text search, and PDF reading/annotation in the app. Mendeley additionally has a social networking component to see what others in your field are reading and commenting on (particularly in the sciences).

 adapted from Penn State University Libraries

Citation Manager Comparison Chart

Criteria

Zotero

Mendeley

 

EndNote Basic

 

Download From

https://www.zotero.org/

https://www.mendeley.com

https://endnote.com/product-details/basic/

Must be online?

No

No

Yes

Web-based?

Has a web version; desktop app syncs with online account; connectors for Firefox, Chrome and Safari and Opera available

Not primarily, but can sync with an online account which is editable

Yes

Must be online?

No

No

Yes

Cost

Free for basic account, some cost for more online storage space

Free for basic account, some cost for more online storage space

Free  

Word-processor compatibility

MS Word, Open Office, Google Docs

MS Word, Open Office, LaTex

MS Word

Import from databases

Yes

Yes

Yes

Import citation info from web pages

Yes, also archives the page and you can add annotations

Yes, with a bookmark for a limited number of sites (mostly publishers or databases)

Yes, with Reference Capture tool

Storage capacity

Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 300MB free Zotero file syncing (larger syncing plans available for purchase)

Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 1GB personal and 100MB shared online space (larger online storage plans available for purchase)

Limited to 50,000 citations and 2 GB of attachment storage

Attach associated files (PDFs, etc.)

Yes, attaches automatically with browser connector and can highlight and annotate PDFs

Yes, and can highlight and annotate PDFs

Yes

Search full text of PDFs

Yes

Yes

No

Create group or shared libraries

Yes, uses group creator's storage space

Yes, free for up to 3 group members (larger group plans available for purchase)

Yes

Create bibliography with different styles

Yes

Yes

Yes

Automatic citation extraction from PDFs

Yes

Yes

No

Other features

Sync library with multiple computers
Use tags and "related" items to organize/search

Sync library with multiple computers
Sync with Zotero library