Skip to Main Content
University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

Engineering Research Guide

Citing Information

You may be asked to use different citation styles in different classes. Different styles were created to highlight the information that's most important to a given audience - for example, MLA uses page numbers for in-text citations, while Vancouver's abbreviated journal titles saves space in print. Clear citations make it easier for your audience to follow up on interesting sources you mention.

There are two ways to approach citations -

  1. Handle each citation individually. If you copy and paste the provided citation when you find an article, use a citation generator like zbib, or write a citation manually, you use this approach. It works well when you have a relatively small number of sources to keep track of.
  2. Handle citations as a group with a citation management tool (like Zotero or Mendeley). This works well when you are working with a large number of sources. It takes a little time to set up the system but saves time in the long run.

The library recommends 2 free citation management tools


Zotero logoAbout 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 cloud
  • Share group libraries with others
  • Create bibliographies in a variety of styles


Mendeley LogoAbout 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.