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CItation Management Tools

Overview of tools to help UC students, faculty, and staff organize their research and create citations.

What are citation management tools?

Citation management tools are a good way to keep track of sources for research as well as help cite them in most citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). While details will differ from tool to tool, they all generally have the following capabilities:

  • Store citation information as well as link to the source and/or store a PDF of it
  • Create in-text citations
  • Create works cited/references lists
  • Collaborate by sharing folders or creating groups

These tools are helpful for organizing and keeping track of research sources and save time in citing them, but they aren't perfect. When using them, remember:

  • The citations they create often need to be double-checked for accuracy in small details, particularly if your professor or the journal you're submitting to has adjustments they like to make to their preferred style
  • Sharing resources within the tools only works among users of the same tools; RefWorks folders can only be shared with other RefWorks users, Mendeley groups can only be made up of Mendeley account holders, and so on.
  • Most tools' in-text citation plugins are Microsoft Word-compatible only, with some also offering an option for Google Docs.

Choosing a tool

Everyone has their own preferences, and ultimately it's up to the user to decide what works best for them. This guide aims to introduce a few, some of which you may already be familiar with, in an effort to help with the choice. You can also:

  • get recommendations from others in your department
  • try one or two

It's important to note that the only tools UC offers support for are RefWorks and Microsoft Word's built in citation tool. Unfortunately, we can't offer support for others at this moment, but we have links on this guide to the tools' help pages as a reference for anyone who needs assistance with them.