Citation managers can help you gather, organize, and analyze sources. There are many citation managers to choose from. Below is a comparison of two FREE popular citation tools used by university students, researchers, and writers around the world.
Zotero is a very popular option. For resources on Zotero, see:
It should also be noted that it is highly recommended that you master Turabian/Chicago citations before using a software, or that you at the very least thoroughly verify the citations produced by the software since it is not perfect and errors do still occur. Nonetheless, if you have a grasp of how to cite properly, a citation management software can save you tons of time and effort.
Breakdown and Comparison of Zotero and Mendeley
|Cost||Free Basic Account. Cost for additional storage.||Free Basic Account. Cost for additional storage.|
|Support||Zotero Documentation||Mendeley Support|
|Web based?||Yes, works with Firefox browser and can sync with online account; connectors for Chrome and Safari available||Not primarily. But syncs with an online account that you can edit.|
|Can I work on Multiple computers?||Yes||Yes|
|Can I work without an internet connection?||Yes||Yes|
|Can I work on a group project or share citations?||Yes||Yes (up to 3 collaborators)|
|Word-processor compatibility||MS Word plugin (Win/Mac)||MS Word plugin (Win/Mac)|
|Open/Libre Office plugin (Win/Mac/Linux)||Open/Libre Office plugin|
|Google docs (when using Firefox plugin)||(Win/Mac/Linux)|
|Import from databases||Yes||Yes|
|Import from web pages||Yes||Yes (with a bookmark for a limited number of sites)|
|Import PDF metadata||Yes||Yes|
|Storage capacity||Unlimited on desktop (restricted by local storage capacity);
300MB web attachment storage. Low cost to upgrade storage, see Zotero storage plans.
|Unlimited on desktop (restricted by local storage capacity); 2GB web attachment storage|
|Attach files (i.e. PDFs)||Yes||Yes|
|Create a bibliography||Yes||Yes|
|Number of Citation Styles||7000+ (selected default styles installed, more styles can be found in the Zotero Style Repository)||7000+ (selected default styles installed, more styles can be found at CitationStyles.org)|
|Other Information||Can only edit citations through Citation Style Editor (requires knowledge of CSL)
Recommended to use “Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (full note, short title subsequent)” style