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WRI 101-01 (Webb, Spring 2022): Citation Managers

What's a citation manager, and which should I choose?

A bibliographic citation manager will format citations for you in the format you choose, help you create in-line citations, and generate bibliographies or "works cited" lists for your papers. Citation managers can be a real gift when you're pressed for time, or when you have a lot of citations to manage.

The UCM Library supports three citation managers: RefWorks, Zotero, and Mendeley. "Support" means that these are the three citation managers with which all of the librarians are familiar. We've created guides for each of them, we offer workshops on their use, and we can help you with any questions you may have. We may not know much about EasyBib or other citation managers.

Choosing a Citation Management Tool by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Manage Your Research with RefWorks by Sara Davidson Squibb

Using Zotero to Manage Your Research by Elizabeth McMungg-Tetangco


RefWorks is an online tool for managing and citing your references. 

With RefWorks you can

  • add and organize reference information (aka citation information).
  • save and annotate files (e.g. PDF of an article) associated with each reference.
  • cite references in a citation style of your choice.
  • write in Word or Google docs and create citations along the way. 
  • collaborate on a project or share references with peers & colleagues.

RefWorks is provided by the UC Merced Library to all UC Merced students, faculty and staff. 

Create an account to get started


Zotero is a free, open source citation management tool. You can use it to collect, organize, and cite your research. It can also synchronize your data across devices.

ZoteroBib is a new Zotero tool that helps you make quick bibliographies.

Why Zotero?

  • Zotero is free, and features an online community that can often help with questions.
  • Zotero saves your citation library locally. While it will let you sync your citations through the cloud, you'll need to adjust your settings on every computer. If you mostly use one computer, Zotero is a great option.
  • You don't need to be online to use Zotero.
  • Zotero is easy to use.



Mendeley is a free citation manager with web and desktop platforms. Mendeley users can sign up for a free account with 2GB of web space or purchases a premium plan to access more space and sharing/collaboration options. With Mendeley, you can:

  • Build a library of citations from library databases and websites
  • Search and import references and datasets from the Mendeley crowd-sourced catalog
  • Store, organize and share references
  • Annotate documents; record and share notes with collaborators 
  • Create in-text citations and bibliographies using nearly 7,000 citation styles



  • citation management tool
  • web, desktop, and mobile platforms


  • easily import citations from academic journals & the web
  • can format citations on Google Docs and Microsoft Word
  • allows for collaboration with team members
  • ZoteroBib provides quick citations 
  • Retraction Watch informs you when articles are retracted


  • free account with 300 MB of storage; purchase premium accounts to access more storage

Citation Styles

  • Offers over 9400 citation styles, in fields from anthropology to zoology
  • Import, edit, and save citation styles

Adding References

  • Drop and drag citation styles; Zotero will try to extract citation information
  • Export citation from databases
  • Import citations from the web
  • Add manually

Viewing Options

  • View references in folders or full library

Organizing References

  • Create folders and sub-folders

Sharing References

  • Share references through groups; invite via email
  • Groups can be open (public), or private

Linking to Full-Text

  • If available Zotero will attempt to download a full-text PDF when importing citations (you can also set Zotero to NOT download full-text PDFs)

Creating Bibliographies

  • Right-click to select citations and click "Create bibliography from items..."
  • Use Zotero's Microsoft Word or Google Doc plugins


Highlight: No cost, and includes a robust online community. Zotero can also be used to make quick citations. Includes a "Retraction Watch" feature.

Lowlight: No cost means that there is no designated customer service team.