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Citing resources in your research papers acknowledges that other people have influenced your ideas. Citations are also used to support your own ideas and arguments and to place your research in the larger context of a field of study (for instance, in a literature review or an annotated bibliography).
Citing work is essential to avoid accusations of plagiarism.
What is a Citation Manager?
When you write academic papers you will need to give credit to the works you have consulted to support your argument. Because academic papers often require a lot of citations, you can use a citation management tool to make keeping track of your sources easier!
Use this guide to help you get started using citation management software. The tabs above offer specific advice on using EndNote, EndNote Online, Mendeley, RefWorks, and Zotero, including: how to add references to specific software, how to include references in your writing, and how to generate a bibliography.
Picking a Citation Manager
This guides includes information about popular citation management tools. Some are provided by Yale University and Yale Library, while others are free to use. The citation management tool you use is up to you. Below are some things to consider to help you decide.
If you know which tool you need, use the tabs at the top of the page to learn how to get started collecting and managing citations and creating a bibliography.
All Citation Management tools have these basic features to help you...
Gather and transfer references from databases / resources / webpages into your personal research database
Organize, annotate, sort and search your references, images and PDFs
Insert in-text citations and reference lists into documents in a wide variety of styles (MLA, APA, etc)
Create stand alone bibliographies in a wide variety of styles
Before you choose which citation manager is right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Does the tool support your citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago)?
Does the tool support sharing between people?
Is the tool compatible with the databases and websites you use?
What kinds of file formats are you collecting? Does the tool capture webpage snapshots, and does it store PDFs?
Does the tool allow you to work off-line or from multiple places?
Review the Comparison Charts below to learn about the special features available within each tool.