Desktop-based; citations stored on local computer
Web-based; citations stored on remote server
Desktop-based; citations and PDFs stored locally, or remotely by syncing to cloud services and/or other machines
Firefox extension; citations stored on local computer
Among bibliographic management tools, there are no clear winners. Choosing one depends, in large part, on your needs. EndNote has a huge library of journal-specific formatting styles and has traditionally been the most serious and versatile piece of software. EndNote also allows users to automatically download the full text of free and licensed papers. Depending on the subject area and recency of publication, this feature can work for more than half of one's citations. On the other hand, EndNote Web and RefWorks, because they are web-based, might be better suited for a person who uses multiple computers or works in a collaborative environment.
Of all bibliographic management tools, Mendeley may be the most enjoyable to use. It has a polished user interface, allows for relatively painless import of citations, and has a social component. On Mendeley, users can create and join groups to share citations. Also, Mendeley also offers an iPhone/iPad application and integrates with Microsoft Word.
Zotero, the open source Firefox extension for bibliographic management, is recognized for ease of use. Zotero is browser-based, and, in most cases, all it takes is a single click to add a citation to your bibliography. Like EndNote and RefWorks, Zotero integrates well with Microsoft Word, but lacks the thousands of formatting styles that EndNote includes. Zotero allows for remote library backup, as well as the ability to access your library from anywhere on the web and share groups.
Migrating your bibliographic library between one piece of software and the next is a viable option. If you need help with this, or if have any other questions regarding these tools, please contact the Information Desk.
Request an individual consultation for more information.