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What is bibliographic management software - such as Zotero, EndNote, ProCite or Reference Manager? How do I decide which one is best for me?

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Last Updated: Apr 25, 2014  |  414 Views

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Bibliographic or reference management software allows the user to capture citations, PDFs, and more from scholarly databases such as JSTOR, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, and PubMed, in addition to resources fround on Google Scholar and the open Web. These "databases of you" allow users to organize references, write notes, and use the application to "cite what you write" using common word processing software such as Microsoft Word.

At the WSU Pullman campus, librarians support two specific reference managment services, EndNote ($, but a big discount for WSU students) and Zotero (freemium). You can find more information, including dates of upcoming classes, online assistance, and librarian contact information at:  (On the WSU Vancouver campus? Try

WSU Pullman students, faculty, and staff interested in a bibliographic software program other than EndNote or Zotero (i.e. Mendeley or CiteULike) should contact Lorena O'English at 

Which one is best for you? That's a good question. Check out this Wikipedia page: Comparison of Reference Management Software - it will give you an idea of the costs, platforms, and functionalities of the many reference management programs available. In the end it comes down to what fits into your workflow and what you just like. Another factor may come in to play if you work in a research group with others: although references can be shared between different applications, sometimes its easier if everyone uses the same thing. One idea is to come to both an EndNote and Zotero class and check them out for yourself. If you are interested in one of the other options, contact me (Lorena) at the link/email above.

Answered by Lorena O'EnglishBookmark and Share

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