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Citation Management Software

Presentation of EndNote and Zotero, two widely used citation managers

Which One Should I Choose?

There are many different citation managers. In this guide, we will concentrate on two of them, EndNote, a proprietary programme, and Zotero, a free and open source programme with many advantages. Both work on Mac and PC.

The best way to know which one best suits your needs is probably to test them. Zotero can be downloaded free of charge, and there is a 30-day free trial period for EndNote. If you change your mind, it is always possible to transfer your database (which by the way is called a "library") to another programme.

Here is a small selection of Web pages comparing citation managers:

EndNote and Zotero, Pros and Cons

EndNote (desktop version) and Zotero are both good citation managers, but they have slightly different features, and for some users, certain details can be essential.

EndNote is slightly more sophisticated, with some features not available in Zotero:

  • The Subject Bibliography function, which allows to create bibliographies ordered by any type of field, and therefore to create bibliographies ordered by reference types (books, journal articles, cases...)
  • The user can modify reference types, or add new ones
  • The "Find full text" tool, which allows an automatic retrieval of PDF full texts for journal articles references (even if it does not always work)

Zotero has also many advantages:

  • Free
  • More user-friendly, easier to learn
  • More styles in law and social sciences than in EndNote, which remains more oriented towards natural sciences
  • You can have Zotero in your language... EndNote is only in English
  • Easy to create groups (called "collections"), sub-groups, sub-sub-groups...