Citation Management Software

Citation managers 

Citation management software (also known as reference or citation managers and tools) lets you collect, save, organize, cite, and share your references.  

Use them to quickly download citations and organize them into folders; add notes and attach PDF files and other research objects; and create and share bibliographies or reference lists in almost any citation style. 

Two free and easy to use citation managers are Zotero and Mendeley. Use Western Libraries' Decision Tree to help choose between them (hint: there's no wrong answer!). Accessible version here. 

Zotero and Mendeley are not the only citation managers, though. Check out Wikipedia’s Comparison of reference management software to learn about different options.  

Getting started 

To get started, find the download and installation guide on the website of either Zotero or Mendeley. Both products are easy to learn on your own using their help guides and tutorials.  

Western Libraries also offers citation management orientation through the Workshops. Prefer that we visit your class or student group? Request a citation management workshop using our online form.  

Getting help 

Please note that Western Libraries does not offer technical support for citation managers - both Zotero and Mendeley have excellent, up-to-date help guides. 

You can also find help from: 



For more information about this page, please contact Western Libraries’ Teaching and Learning team at