As you're researching, you'll start collecting references. Eventually, you need to return to them to re-read, take notes and, finally, to cite them in your papers and create your works cited list.

  • Some researchers use an online document (Word, Google Doc, etc.)
  • Some keep a notebook with their references and notes side-by-side.
  • There are also Reference Managers -- online tools that help you to store, and cite, the references you find.

You can save yourself some time (and some last-minute stress!), by deciding in advance how you will collect, store, and finally cite your references.

Note: Many databases offer a "save" feature, or "add to folder" feature, but it's important to remember that whatever you have added will disappear once you leave the database.

Save yourself the last-minute stress of trying to remember, re-construct, and cite your sources!


Caution! The URLs in the search bar are often generated from the search and don't last beyond that search.

If you do need to copy a URL, make sure that you are using the "persistent," or "durable," or "stable" url, or "permalink", or the DOI (digital object identifier)

The safest approach is to use the citation tools, which will include the permanent or durable urls.

The library catalog and almost all of the library databases include a citation feature with every record.

When you find something you like, save the citation.

  • Sometimes it appears as a set of double quotes " "
  • Other times, you might see a folder that says "cite"
  • Some full-text entries include the citation information with the full text.

and then add it to your collection (Word doc, Google doc, or reference manager). When you don't have a ready- made citation, you can also use Zoterobib to create your citation.

Keep complete references and save them whichever way works best for you. If you want to start saving references in a citation manager, see below.


Zoterobib, mentioned above, is used to create citations. It doesn't save your citations.

Zotero itself is an open-source, online reference manager. Researchers use Zotero to store, and eventually cite all of the references they are collecting. It will also store pdfs and the links to online sources. The library offers several Zotero workshops each semester to get people started.

With Zotero, you are basically creating your own database of sources relevant to your research. If you only need to collect a small number of sources, you probably don't need it, but if you are thinking about a long-term research project, it's worth a look!