Managing your information and research

Citation management tools for organizing your research

Effective citation management is critical to performing a comprehensive or systematic search of the literature. In the process of doing research, you will encounter a multitude of resources including books, articles, and websites.  Keeping all of these organized as you progress, creating bibliographies or lists of resources, and collaborating and sharing information can be a daunting and time-consuming task. 

Citation management tools can be a great way to do all of these things and more.  With a relatively easy-to-use tool, you will be able to organize and save the resources you find in databases and on websites.  And with virtually the click of a button, you will be able to generate bibliographies in nearly any citation style.

There are a number of citation management tools available that are compatible with many of the databases and resources you'll use.  Visit the citation management help page to get started.  It only takes a few minutes to set up an account with such tools as Zotero and Mendeley.  If you are affiliated with the College of Human Ecology or CALS, you can download an Endnote license (see box to the left).

To learn how to use these and other citation management tools, consider a workshop at Mann Library or Olin Library.

Image credit:  Tony Hammon, from Flickr at


Zotero is a popular free open source citation management tool that makes saving and citing online resources, including websites, YouTube videos, news articles, and scholarly database results, a breeze. Some of Zotero's strengths include its ability to capture a multitude of resource types with the click of a button, and its group library function, with no limit on group membership.  For more about Zotero, see this guide.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography with Zotero

1.  Open preferences, and select Cite>Styles.  Then, select "get additional styles" link at bottom, and find APA 6th (annotated bibliography).  Download and open--this will automatically save the style to Zotero.

zotero citation preferences where you can edit the styles zotero saves.

2.   Highlight the references you want to include in your annotated bibliography, right click and select "create bibliography from items."  Then paste into your Word doc.

3.  Be sure to put your annotations in the abstract field for each included citation.  If there are actual abstracts in that field, you can cut and paste them into the notes field.

Preview your saved citations where you can merge and export items, create a bibliography, and view online.

Endnote Licenses

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Human Ecology (CHE) provide Endnote software to faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students affiliated with those colleges.  For more information, see the following links:

CALS EndNote

CHE EndNote