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Engineering -- Civil Engineering -- CIVE310 -- Environmental Engineering

What's the best citation management software for me?

The Library currently offers frequent workshops on Zotero, an open-source system for Citation management.

How do you choose the best citation management software? There are many factors to consider, such as:  

  • Is the software open?
  • Can I export my data?
  • How much does the software cost? 
  • Can I collaborate with colleagues/friends and share my citations in groups? 
  • Can I access my citations and PDFs on different computers? 
  • Can I use a mobile device to work with my citations? 
  • Is my data being stored on a server in the United States? 

We've put together a comparison chart below to help you identify the different features available and figure out the best option for you. 

Comparison of features

Zotero Mendeley

Endnote Basic

Endnote Desktop
(compare Endnote versions)


Cost Free Free Free  $165 at UVic Bookstore Reference manager included with Word
License Open Source Closed Source Closed Source Closed Source Closed Source

Where do I get it? Endnote Website UVic Bookstore Free at Office 365 for Students
How much free online storage does it come with?  300MB (can purchase more). If you have personal cloud storage, you can also sync Zotero to your personal account.  2GB (can purchase more) 2GB for files (up to 50,000 references) Unlimited n/a
Desktop or browser based?  Desktop & web application for syncing Desktop & web application for syncing Browser only Desktop with web application for syncing Desktop

Can it capture citations from web? 

Yes Yes Through a bookmarklet or 9 predefined databases Through a bookmarklet or 6000 predefined databases No
What word processing programs does it work with Natively: Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, Google Docs; can use RTF scan for other programs like RStudio and LaTeX Microsoft Word using "Mendeley Cite" Microsoft Word using "Cite While You Write"  Microsoft Word using "Cite While You Write" Word
Can I use it on my mobile device?  Yes, limited use through a web interface Yes, iOS, Android & web interface Yes, iOS & web interface iOS app with Endnote Online Account No
Can I collaborate with others? Yes, through private or public group libraries on cloud. Yes, through private or public group libraries on cloud. Yes, you can share group library Yes, you can share groups library or share entire library with up to 100 people who are using Endnote X9, X8, X7 No
Can I share PDFs and other notes?  Yes, through private groups Yes, through private groups No, only citations Only with other people running the paid desktop versions of X7, X8, or X9 (100 person limit) No
Does it store PDFs?  Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Does it extract and store annotations?  Yes, using the Zotfile Plugin
Does it have open source plugins for added functionality?  Yes No No No No
How many citation styles are supported?  Unlimited (through community repository & you can build your own styles) Unlimited (through citation style repository) Top 21 styles More than 7,000 & user can add more.  12 (but you can customize XML file for more)
Where is my data stored?  Desktop; Cloud (if you sync) Desktop; Cloud (if you sync) Cloud Desktop; Cloud (if you sync) Desktop
Can I sync across multiple devices?  Yes Yes Yes Yes No
URL for download or use Mendeley Website My Endnote Web n/a 

Office 365 Students

Where can I find
support documents? 
Zotero Support Mendeley Support Endnote Support

Endnote Support

Office Support
Do the libraries offer workshops? Yes Yes On request On request No
updated:  August 2020
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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.