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Citation Management Tools

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The Library supports two citation management tools: RefWorks and Zotero.

Consult the chart below to decide which tool is right for you or contact a librarian for more information.




Is the tool web-based or does it require using your personal computer?

Web-based; you can access your data from any computer with an internet connection

Stores data on your computer; synching to the web is possible, but Zotero works best if you research on your own computer

Must it be used with a specific web browser?

Not browser-specific

Currently operates as a Firefox plug-in, although standalone software is in beta testing

What happens to my data when I leave Oberlin?

Although RefWorks is provided by an Oberlin College Library subscription, you can keep using your account after you graduate

Zotero is a free open-source tool, so no subscription is necessary

What is the learning curve like?

It's fairly easy to learn, but has more fine-tuned functionality than Zotero

It's easy to learn, and is simpler than RefWorks

How does it work with word processors, and which ones?

Uses a plug-in for Microsoft Word (both PC and Mac) called Write-N-Cite, which formats citations and bibliographies

Has plug-ins for OpenOffice, NeoOffice and Microsoft Word (both PC and Mac, except Word X for Mac), which formats citations and bibliographies

What kind of items can it store?

Any kind! You can attach PDFs and documents to citation records

Any kind! You can attach PDFs and documents to a citation record, and automatically saves PDFs from some databases, including JSTOR

Can I share citations with others?

Yes, you can collaborate with other RefWorks users using RefShare

Yes, has a feature to create private or public groups for resource sharing with other Zotero users

Which citation styles does it use for output?

Has a staggering number of output styles, including MLA, APA and Chicago style

Has a staggering number of output styles that can be installed, only 15 come pre-installed, including MLA, APA and Chicago style

Overall Strengths

Web based, requires no software or storage of data

It's a subscription-based product and has excellent documentation and support available

Easy to import records

Automatically stores PDFs from JSTOR and other databases as well as snapshots of web pages

Has built-in note taking functionality

Last updated:
September 09, 2015