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Reference management tools

Useful tools for managing your information sources and citations

With a licence from RUAS you can use Endnote and RefWorks for free. But you can manage references in Word as well, right? And there are so much more tools available, which one should you use?

We compared the 5 most popular tools for reference- and citation management in the infographic below. Besides Endnote these are MendeleyZotero and MS Word.

Reference managers

Reference managers

The best tools to manage your sources and reference them

Endnote 1

EndNote is an extensive application for collecting, managing and using scholarly articles and making source references and bibliographies.

Refworks 1

With RefWorks you can manage your collected information and references in the cloud. Also you can create a list of source references with it, in the citation style of your choice.


With Mendeley, a free tool from Elsevier, you can manage and share your sources and create ists of source references. You can use it on line, as a desktop application or as a mobile app.


Zotero is a non-profit, open source alternative to Mendeley. With the Save to Zotero browser plugin you can store a pdf of web page quickly and easily.

Word 1

MS Word also allows you to add source information to create citations and bibliographies, but you can't manage them like you can with the specialized applications above, so we don't recommend using it.

Cite while you write

Most reference managers have a plugin for MS Word. This allows you to make citations from your source collection while writing. And when you're finished you can create your bibliography in the right citation style with one click of a button!

Group work

Another advantage of using a reference manager is being able to share your source collection with others. In that way you can manage, use and comment your sources for group assignments. Handy!

Find the differencesEndnoteRefworksMendeleyZoteroWord
License Free via HR Free via HR Free Free Free via HR
Difficulty Hard Medium Medium Medium Easy
Desktop application Windows/MacOS Yes No Yes2 Yes2 Yes
Mobile/Web Yes3 Yes Yes Yes No
MS Word integration Yes4 Yes5 Yes4 Yes4+5 Yes
Save from browser Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Store PDFs Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Store websites No No Yes Yes No
Import citations Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Cloud synchronisation Yes Yes Yes6 Yes7 No
Share source collections Yes Yes Yes Yes No

1) supported by the library

2) Also Linux

3 iOS only

4) Also OpenOffice

5) Also Google docs

6) 2GB Maximum

7) 300MB Maximum

8) The most commonly used citation style at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is the APA (from American Psychological Association). There is also a Dutch APA version. IEEE is the prescribed citation style for the Electrical Engineering course. The compulsory citation style for the Fiscal Law and Economics program is the Leidraad voor Juridische Auteurs (Guideline for Legal Authors).

Library Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Text version of this infographic



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