What is reference management software?

Last changed: 08 November 2023
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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 and Zotero.

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 and Zotero, and SLU has a campus license for EndNote. There are style files for these programs that correspond to the SLU Harvard style.

In the library search & write guide, there is a film describing what you can do with a reference management software: 

EndNote or Zotero?


  • 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.


  • 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.

Read more, download software and get style files: