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EndNote, RefWorks and Other Reference Managers

Tips on choosing and using reference managemers (AKA citation managers) including EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero, and Mendeley.

What are they? What do they do?

In essence they all do the same three things:

1. Sore information about books, articles, websites, etc. in one place.

2. Organize this information is a useful way and search to find what you seek.

3. Use the information in your reference manager to add in-text citations and a reference list to a document you are writing.

They vary in many details.

We will focus on 5 (EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, F1000). There are many others available. Three others are worth consideration at this point (mid-2017): Papers, ReadCube, PaperPile . We try to monitor developments in reference managers and will provide information about significant updates.

Choosing citation/reference management software: which one is right for me?

These points refer to EndNote, F1000 Workspace, RefWorks, Zotero and Mendeley:

  • If you don’t want to pay for software, consider RefWorks (UCSF only), F1000 (UCSF only), Zotero, or Mendeley.
  • If you want open source software, choose Zotero.
  • If you want software that's easy to learn, choose RefWorks (UCSF only). Zotero and Mendeley are pretty easy as well.
  • If you want to mainly work off-line on your own computer, EndNote is your best bet. Mendeley or Zotero are alternatives.
  • If you want easy online access to your references, consider RefWorks. EndNote Web/Online, Zotero and Mendeley also permit this, but with fewer features than the desktop versions.
  • If you have saved a large collection of PDF files on your computer which you wish to add to your reference manager, Mendeley, Zotero, RefWorks, and EndNote are all able to add them to libraries, and extract the the citation data you will need when writing your manuscript.
  • If you want a program that will fetch batches of PDFs for you after you have added them to your library, EndNote is the best choice.
  • If you are writing a systematic review or performing other research during which you will accumulate a large number of references (5000 or more) prefer EndNote.
  • If you have special requirements that will require extensive customizability, prefer EndNote
  • If you're interesting in using the software to collaborate with colleagues, Zotero, RefWorks, EndNote are preferred. It is expensive to do this with Mendeley for group sizes over 3.
  • If you want to sync your library with multiple computers, choose Zotero, Mendeley, RefWorks (an online platform.
  • If one system doesn’t meet all your needs, consider the possibility of integrating two or more. Zotero-Mendeley can work together to give you "the best of both worlds".

This is an attempt to provide a brief overview of five popular citation management software. The right software for you will depend on your work and your environment.

 

 

Comparison table for EndNote vs. RefWorks

EndNote and RefWorks are the two most popular managers here at UCSF, so this table compares features for just these two.

 

EndNote

RefWorks

Access

Endnote desktop must be installed on your computer. However, users have access to EndNote Online, a stripped down version of EndNote

Web-based, making it fully "portable." You install the Write-n-Cite plugin to create bibliographies with MS Word and Google Docs.
Ease of Use More fully-featured than RefWorks so a bit more difficult to use. Simpler than EndNote and easier to learn.
Cost Individual must purchase own copy. Free to UCSF students, staff and faculty. Create an account here. After graduation, UCSF alumni can retain account.

Format Bibliography in Word

Yes, via Cite-While-you-Write plugin.

Yes, via Write-n-Cite plugin. Also works in GoogleDocs.
Windows/Mac Current version, X8 has minimized visual difference between the platforms.

Same for both Mac and Windows, though there are different versions of the Write-n-Cite Word plugin.

Links to UC-eLinks

Yes, but user must configure software.

Yes, automatically linked.

Automatically Retrieves Full-Text

Yes No

Store PDFs

Yes Yes

Ability to Annotate PDFs

Yes Yes

Create a Formatted List of Figures & Charts.

Yes No

Support for Mobile Devices (Android and iOS)

Not really.

New RefWorks does not have an app. Website is not mobilized.
Support for iPAD There is an EndNote X8 app in the App Store. 

You can access RefWorks with your browser on your iPad, functionality is limited.

Collaboration

On the desktop version, you can share folders with others using the share function, or export libraries others can add to their EndNote. EndNote web version is designed for sharing.

Share database (or folders) with members you invite.

More Information

EndNote FAQ

RefWorks FAQ