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Tribal Administration & Governance: Citation Managers

Fall 2017

About Citation Managers

Citation Managers help researchers manage a complex web of scholarly information and resources in a digital format. With a citation manager like Zotero or Mendeley, users can store permalinks, citation data, make notes, save PDF documents for later use, create bibliographies, and share research content with colleagues.

Currently the Kathryn A. Martin Library supports three Citation Managers: Zotero, Mendeley, and RefWorks (Access ends August 31,2018).

Choosing a citation manager: Zotero and Mendeley Comparison

RefWorks (Access ends August 31, 2018)

RefWorks is a web-based bibliographic management tool. With this tool you can collect and organize references on topics for papers or research; electronically transfer references from databases to your files; create bibliographies or lists of works cited using the citation format of your choice; create in-text references or footnotes as you write papers; and create your personal searchable database of citations. UMD support for RefWorks will end on August 31, 2018.


About Zotero

Zotero is a standalone software program that works with Firefox, Chrome and Safari. It allows users to:

  • Create a databases of citations by easily selecting items from your browser
  • Attach and organize your PDFs
  • Sync your database to the Web
  • Share group libraries with others
  • Create bibliographies in a variety of styles


About Mendeley

Mendeley is a free citation and file management application. It allows you to:

  • Manage your PDF collection of articles on your hard drive.
  • Extract metadata for each file, rename/move them, and sync across platforms.
  • Tag files, organize them into folders, annotate, and share with others (including annotations/notes).
  • Use the capabilities within Mendeley to generate a bibliography, or export bibliographic data to other citation management applications.

How to use Mendeley

What Is Zotero?

Zotero is a bibliographic manager that you can use as a browser plug-n (if you use Mozilla Firefox), a stand-alone app (if you use Safari or Chrome), or online. It works best as a plug-in or app. Zotero is popular among researchers who want a quick, stream-lined tool for saving references and citing sources while writing. You can download and install Zotero for free. If you will be using the standalone app, be sure to download the proper extension for your web browser as well.

The primary features of Zotero are:

  • Quick capture of bibliographic data from a web page, whether you're looking at a list of search results or a single information source
  • Organizational file structures
  • Bibliography formatting in the most-used citation styles, with more styles available via download
  • Quick in-text citation with a plug-in for MS Word or LibreOffice
  • Reference and file sharing with other Zotero users
  • File attachment and storage capabilities

Zotero can only be used with the Firefox, Chrome, and Safari web browsers. You can download and install Zotero for free.

If you are using Firefox, you will have to install the Zotero plug-in for your browser. Once installed, you can capture bibliographic information from web pages and view, organize, and edit your references in your browser.

If you are using Chrome or Safari, you will have to install the standalone Zotero app as well as an extension for your browser. Once both are installed, you can capture bibliographic information from web pages and view, organize, and edit your references in the Zotero application.

The main method of adding references to your Zotero library is via the "Save to Zotero" button on your web browser toolbar. Click the button, and Zotero will analyze the data on the page you're viewing. If there are multiple information sources (such as when you're looking at search results), you will be able to choose which sources are added to your library. You will notice that the icon changes depending on what type of information you're viewing (e.g. search results, video, article, etc.)

If you're using Firefox, the button looks like this (click the icon to the right of the Z to capture your references):

If you're using Chrome and have downloaded the browser extension, the Save to Zotero button appears here:


If you're using Safari and have downloaded the browser extension, the Save to Zotero button will be located here:

To view your references, click on the Z button in your tool bar (if you're using Firefox) or open the Zotero standalone app (if you're using Chrome or Safari).

Additionally, you can sync your Zotero libraries to an online account.

Note: Zotero only provides 300MB of online storage. If you want to use Zotero as a cloud-based storage system for your files, you can upgrade to more storage for a fee.