Western Libraries

Comparing Citation Management Services

This table compares three of the most popular citation management systems that have good free versions. We've developed "Quick Start" guides for each of them to help you get started.

For more options, check out Wikipedia's comparison of reference management software.

Zotero Mendeley Endnote Basic
Ease of Use
  • User-friendly
  • Website, Firefox browser extension, and desktop application
  • User-friendly
  • Website and desktop application
  • User-friendly
  • Website only
Can it create my reference list for me?
  • MS Word plugin (Win/Mac)
  • Open/Libre Office plugin (Win/Mac/Linux)
  • Google docs (when using Firefox plugin)
  • MS Word plugin (Win/Mac)
  • Open/Libre Office plugin (Win/Mac/Linux)
  • MS Word plugin (Win/Mac)
Does it support sharing articles and collaborative writing?
  • Unlimited groups, each with unlimited members
  • private groups can share articles
  • public groups share citations only
  • group discussions available
  • One private group with up to three members (including group owner)
  • unlimited public groups
  • private groups can share articles
  • public groups share citations only
  • group discussions available
  • up to 5,000 groups, each with up to 1,000 users
  • no public groups
  • sharing citations only
Can I save PDFs to my account? Yes: 300Mb of storage Yes: 2Gb of storage Yes: 2Gb of storage
Can I add web pages to my account?
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
Can I add notes to entries in my account?
  • Write notes and add tags
  • Write notes and add tags
  • Write notes
Browser Compatibility
  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer 7-9
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer 8-
Cost
  • Free
  • Charges for adding storage space
  • Free
  • Charges for adding storage space
  • Charges for collaborating with larger groups
  • Free
  • Charge for buying desktop application
Will I have access after I leave Western or the Affiliates? Yes Yes Yes
Does it work on my phone or tablet?
  • 3rd party Android & iOS apps available
  • Zotero website is mobile-friendly
  • Apps available for Android & iOS
  • iPad app available
Security
  • Cloud storage is optional (mandatory for collaboration)
  • Cloud data stored on US servers
  • Cloud storage is mandatory
  • data stored on US servers
  • Cloud storage is mandatory
  • data stored on US servers

Creative Commons Licence
This work by Western Libraries Citation Management Working Group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.