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What is Citation Management Software?

Citation management software allows you to save and organize items found via searching the library's databases. It also can be used to create reference lists and citations for papers. There are a number of software systems available

Mendeley vs. Zotero - Which Should You Choose?

Two of the most popular free software management systems are Mendeley and Zotero. Below are some features that may help you decide between the two. If you are collaborating with a faculty supervisor on a project, it is best to ask which tool they are using as they may wish you to use the same platform to make it easier to share resources with each other.

Considerations Mendeley Zotero
Cost to access

Free, can pay for increased storage space

Mendeley is owned by the commercial publisher Elsevier.

Free, can pay for increased storage space

Zotero is open source and run by an independent body.

My citation library will be available from multiple computers Yes - even if you install the Mendeley software on your laptop, you can sync it with your cloud based web account Yes - even if you install the Zotero software on your laptop, you can sync it with your cloud based web account
Free account offers cloud storage for pdfs and other docs Yes - 2 GB. More storage available for a fee. Yes - 300 MB. More storage available for a fee.
Web extension to allow for easy addition of citations to their personal library Yes - Web Importer available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari Yes - Zotero Connector available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge
Easily allows you to add citations from MRU LibrarySearch to your personal library Yes via the Web Importer (if you want to grab the pdfs) or by pinning items of interest and exporting that list using the Mendeley icon in LibrarySearch Not easily - you can pin the resources that interest you and export as an RIS file. You then need to import the RIS file to Zotero. If can add individual items from LibrarySearch using the Zotero Connector in your browser, but it doesn't grab the pdf.
Can take a snapshot of a website or web based document to save a copy of the information No Yes
Allows researchers to create folders to organize citations Yes Yes
Allows users to drag and drop pdfs from their desktops into their personal libraries and extracts citation information Yes Yes
Integrates with Microsoft Word Yes Yes
Integrates with Google Docs No Yes
Integrates with Pages No No
Word plug-in allows citation styles that use footnotes/endnotes (e.g. Chicago Style) No (but older version of Mendeley called Mendeley Desktop will) Yes
Allows creation of groups where users can share resources with each other Yes - with a free account you can create up to 5 private groups with a maximum of 25 members each.  Yes - you can create private groups that allow members to share citations and files. There is no limit on the number of groups or members.
Allows users to mark up/annotate pdfs Yes using the integrated annotation feature. You can also annotate documents that are shared in private groups collaboratively with others. Yes, this feature is now available in Zotero 6
Offers an app version for mobile devices No App available for iOS devices
Allows you to move your citations to another platform (e.g. Mendeley to Zotero) Yes Yes - Zotero offers a special Mendeley import tool


Need assistance?

If you need assistance with your research project, please reach out to your subject librarian. They would be happy to help.

If you are not sure who to chat with, please contact Brian Jackson.