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Citation Tools

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.

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

Feature Zotero Mendeley
Cost Free Basic Account. Cost for additional storage. Free Basic Account. Cost for additional storage.
Website Zotero Mendeley
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