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Best to Use When...
This table describes when it is an advantage to use a particular reference manager.
- You are just starting your research
- You are a Microsoft Word user
- You mostly use Web of Science and PubMed
- You already have all your PDFs and you want to search them full text
- You want to put notes directly on the PDFs easily (need to export if want outside of Mendeley)
- You use LibreOffice and/or Linux
- Use your mobile phone much to get references
|Zotero and Juris M|
- You need to use Bluebook Style or legal citations
- Cite many conference papers
- Use many different websites and databases
- You use LibreOffice and/or Linux.
- Can search PDF annotations (with plug-in)
- Support for many mobile devices
This table lists some problems or disadvantages for reference managers.
- You can't alter or create citation stylesheets
- The Capture Button does not work well with all partner websites
- Mendeley Web Importer can't always get the reference information
- When pulling in a PDF to Mendeley Desktop, information needs edited most of the time, but it is easy to edit
- It can pull in completely wrong data
|Zotero and Juris M
- When using the Zotero button with your Internet Browser, information needs edited most of the time, but it is easy to edit.
- Might take extra time to figure out plug-in is needed, but the documentation is excellent
Notes about Accuracy
This table lists some general observations about accuracy of the reference managers.
- Works best with PubMed and Web of Science requiring the least editing
- Styles that use abbreviated titles are less accurate
- Might need to delete some field contents when using Chicago Style
- In general, most entries need edited
- Doesn't have as many types as the other managers in this comparison (e.g. sound recording)
- Can be less accurate for particular citation styles because there aren't enough of the necessary fields for the reference type
- PDF drag and drop doesn't work well for patents, thesis, and reports
- Mendeley Web Importer doesn't work well with all websites and databases
- Patents and newspaper articles need entered manually most of the time
|Zotero and Juris M|
- Many entries need edited
- Has the capability to be more accurate for conference proceedings and patents due to additional necessary fields
- Works well with many websites and the UA Libraries Catalog
- Works well with databases, such as Hein Online, PubMed, and Academic Search Complete
- Manual entry is necessary for Lexis and Westlaw
This table lists the different ways to get references in reference managers.
- Direct export from a database or website (easiest). [e.g. Academic Search Complete and Web of Science]
- When direct export isn't available, try the following. Choose the one that works best for you.
- Capture Button works better for some partners than others (easy)
- Online search in EndNote Basic (easy)
- Export a file, then import into EndNote Basic (fairly easy)
- Manual entry
- PDF drag and drop works best for journal articles (easy)
- Digital Object Identifier (DOI) button in Mendeley Desktop might add information
- Mendeley Web Importer opens new window can be used when you don't have the PDF (easy)
- Can use RIS export or manually entry
|Zotero and Juris M|
- Button integrated in Internet Browser (easy)
- PDF drag and drop (easy)
- Can use RIS export or manual entry
Comparing Reference Managers
This is table list system requirements, software installation, and some general features.
|EndNote Basic||Mendeley||Zotero and Juris M|
|Can still use after graduation||yes||yes||yes|
|System Requirements||Not recommended for Linux. For browser compatibility information, go to EndNote Online compatibility opens new window.||Mendeley Desktop is compatible with many versions of Windows, Mac, and Linux. Mendeley Web Importer can be used various versions of common browsers. Minimum system requirements for Mendeley opens new window.||Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. The Zotero Connector works for several versions of common browsers. Zotero System Requirements opens new window.|
|Word processing||Plug-in for Microsoft Word.||Plug-in for Microsoft Word and LibreOffice.||Microsoft Word and LibreOffice. There are numerous plug-ins for Zotero and Juris-M. For more information, use the Zotero tab.|
|Install software||Not required, but Cite While you Write plug-in recommended. Capture works better with some partner websites than others. For a list of partners regarding the capture button, go to EndNote Online Help - Capture opens new window.||Must install Desktop. Plug-in and the Mendeley Web Importer are recommended.||Must install Zotero 5 and the Zotero Connector for your browser. Plug-in for Word or LibreOffice is recommended. For more information, use the Zotero tab.|
|Use of web version or download software||No Desktop version||Desktop and web version work together and are both required.||If you want to use Zotero on multiple computers, you will need to create a web account on zotero.org. If you don't save to zotero.org, you have to back-up your library manually.|
|Amount of space||2GB for attachments and 50,000 references. ||2GB||300MB, but you could backup your PDFs to dropbox or Google Drive instead.|
|languages||EndNote Basic interface available in 8 languages. The bibliographies cannot be automatically generated in other languages.||The Desktop interface and the Mendeley web interface are only available in English. You can change the bibliography in 50 different languages though.||Can import, store, and cite items in any language. You can change the language of the user interface too. For more information, go to supported languages in Zotero documentation. opens new window|
|Full text search PDFs||no||yes||yes|
|Add notes to PDFs||no||yes (visible in Mendeley only unless export). Notes in the PDF are not searchable.||The plug-in Zotfile makes the notes in PDFs searchable.|
|ADA compliant||There is a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for the full version of EndNote; however, all functionality for the web portion is listed as not applicable. There is not evidence that it was tested by the vendor. Go to accessibility information from vendor opens new window.||No VPAT from vendor.||No VPAT from vendor, the Zotero Forums have information about screen readers opens new window.
|Versions of Styles||Many citation styles. We can only choose 25 at a time because the library subscribes to Web of Science. Once you graduate, you might have access to 21 styles only.||Thousands of citation styles with the two latest edition of APA, Chicago, and MLA.||Thousands of citation styles can be downloaded from the Zotero Style Repository opens new window. There are multiple editions of common styles.|
|Sharing||Can share folders with other EndNote Basic users giving them read or read/write privileges.||Can create one private group with two additional users with a free account. Can create unlimited public groups, but can't include PDFs.||Zotero groups has no limit on how many members may join your public or private groups. For more information, go to Zotero groups opens new window.
|Searching external database directly||yes||no||no|
|Technical support||Much of the online material is for those that purchase EndNote, so look for EndNote Basic first. There is support available. For more information, go to Endnote Online Guide opens new window.
||Mendeley has a support center. opens new window||Documentation and forums on Zotero's website. Some universities have how-to pages and/or videos on YouTube.|