What is a reference management software?

Last changed: 08 July 2020
Forestry students conduct research in a forest.

Reference management software help you when collecting and organizing references. You can easily make in-text citations and create automated reference lists with different citation styles, using the software. Some also provide ways to share references and collaborate on manuscripts within a group of people. There are many different software, and the most common at SLU are EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley.

Reference management software makes it easier for you to collect and organize your different sources, when you need to collect a large number of references to books, scientific articles and other types of publications. Regardless of what software you choose, you can make in-text citations, create automated reference lists and easily change citation styles in your document. It is also possible to share references and collaborate on manuscripts.

There are many different reference management software to choose among, all with pros and cons. The SLU University Library gives support for EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley, and SLU has a campus license for EndNote. There are style files for these programs that correspond to the SLU Harvard style.

In the SLU Library's "Get started with your independent project", there is a film describing what you can do with a reference management software: 

EndNote, Zotero or Mendeley?

Endnote

  • Most common among SLU researchers
  • License based (SLU has a campus license)
  • Installed on campus computers
  • Can be installed on your own computer (contact IT-support at SLU)
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Most useful for import of scientific articles from reference databases
  • Has a built-in PDF reader 

Zotero

  • Most common among SLU students
  • Simple to learn and get started
  • Free of charge up until a certain level of storage, open source
  • Not installed on campus computers (removes automatically after your session)
  • Can be installed on several computers by yourself, and synchronize
  • Compatible with PC, Mac and Linux
  • Useful when importing references from webpages as well as from reference databases

Mendeley

  • Simple to learn and get started
  • Free of charge up until a certain level of storage and functionality, Free ware
  • Not installed on campus computers (is removed automatically after your session)
  • Can be installed and synchronized on several computers by yourself
  • Compatible with PC, Mac and Linux
  • Useful when importing references from webpages as well as from reference databases
  • Has a built-in PDF reader

Read more, download software and get style files:

Page editor: bib-webbredaktionen@slu.se