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Not a Fear Factor (TechnoScholar): Managing Your

This guide has been created to be used as part of the TechnoScholar Series of workshops for UTA faculty and graduate students. It is in the process of being updated.

What is citation software?

Citation software (also called "bibliographic software," "citation managers," or "reference managers") helps you to:

  • import citations from your favorite databases and websites.
  • build and organize bibliographies.
  • format citations for papers.
  • take notes on articles and save them in your collection of citations.
  • save and organize PDFs, screenshots, graphs, images, and other files for your research.


RefWorks is a web-based bibliography and database manager that allows users to create their own personal database by importing references from text files or online databases. These references can be used in writing bibliographies for papers and to automatically format the paper and the bibliography in seconds. Various writing styles are accommodated.

Other Tools

  • Mendeley - "...a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research." -- from the Mendeley website
  • - "...a platform for academics to share research papers. The company's mission is to accelerate the world's research." -- from website
  • Google Docs - "...a suite of products that lets you create different kinds of online documents, work on them in real time with other people, and store your documents and your other files -- all online, and all for free." -- from Google Docs


Some content in this guide based on guides created by: Rafia Mirza (UTA) and MIT Libraries

Which program is right for you?

UTA Libraries supports RefWorks only,
but EndNote and Zotero are also popular choices. 

How do you know which program is right for you? Some things to think about when you choose:

  • What programs are your colleagues using? For example, if fellow researchers are all using RefWorks to share citations, you might consider RefWorks so that you can share your research, too.
  • Use what you like! There is no one perfect program, so use what you're comfortable with.
  • You can use more than one software. Records can be transferred from one program to another, so don't feel limited to choosing only one.





  • Excellent for organizing citations for papers and theses
  • Best option for major research projects, because it offers the most options for customization and formatting
  • Most output styles for formatting
  • Most customizable
  • Can handle a large amount of references
  • Allows users to share citations
  • Good for organizing citations for papers
  • Web-based
  • Since UTA has a site license, there's no cost
  • Simple download of records
  • Good for managing a variety of formats, including web pages
  • Offers most functionality in a free, open-source product
  • Downloads records from with several databases that don't work with EndNote and RefWorks, including Factiva and USPTO


Must purchase client software.

Free via UTA license. See the RefWorks guide for information.  Sign up for an individual account on the RefWorks website. (UTA only)

Free, open source. 

Download Zotero

Learning curve? Takes longer to learn, but not difficult with training Fairly quick to learn; many online user guides and demos Quick to learn; simple design, many online user guides and demos

For more info, see the complete table for comparison of citation software (full)