Citation Management Tools
Which citation manager should I use?
A citation manager is a software tool that can help you track and cite sources throughout your research process. Most citation management software offer similar features:
- A way to collect, organize and take notes on your citations as you discover them
- A way to share your citations with colleagues
- A way to format and automate in-text citation in your papers
The three citation manager products discussed below—EndNote and Sciwheel—are very similar, and each can support extensive research. The products fall on a spectrum, with EndNote being somewhat more complicated but powerful, Zotero being simpler but more limited, and Sciwheel falling between the two, with most of the capabilities of EndNote while being free to UC Davis.
For the downloadable desktop versions, EndNote is the only one that requires a fee. The campus discount has expired, and individual licenses must be purchased. For information on how to do this, contact EndNote directly or librarian Matt Conner.
EndNote Basic (online) and Sciwheel products are free, but Zotero charges annual fees for optional increases in storage and groups.
Note that as of August 2021, Sciwheel has upgraded its MS Word plug-in to the 365 Office version. Because this version may pose an online security risk, you may need campus authorization to download it to your machine. If you find the download blocked, contact IT Express, and they will create a ticket to have the plug-in installed.
Among these tools, Sciwheel stands out for several reasons. By virtue of the library subscription to the Faculty Opinions science database, all UC Davis campus members are eligible for a free account. Sciwheel is entirely cloud-based and has all the essential features of the other products, and it is the only one besides EndNote that has dedicated technical support.
Citation Manager Comparison
|Adding references||Multiple methods, automatic and manual||Multiple methods, automatic and manual||Multiple methods, automatic and manual||Some automatic|
|Capacity||No limit||50,000 references. 2GB storage for all attachments||No limit on desktop. 300MB free cloud storage for attachments||No limit|
|Citing references||Interface with MS Word, OpenOffice & LibreOffice. 6,000 output styles||Interface with MS Word. 6,000 output styles||Interface with MS Word, LibreOffice & Google Docs. 9,000 output styles||Interface with MS Word & Google Docs. 7,000 output styles|
|Cost||$250 individual one-time purchase||Free||Free to download (charges for additional online storage)||Free, as part of licensed Sciwheel resource|
|Full-text storage||Automatic import (not 100%). Can drag or attach files to record||Can attach files to record||Can drag or attach files to record||Yes|
|Migration from EndNote Desktop||Not applicable||Sync||Export .xml file||Export .xml file and import in via RIB, BIB & SML files format|
|Organizing Features||Sorting, searching, tagging, groups||Sorting, searching, tagging, groups||Sorting, searching, tagging, groups||Projects (private or shared),|
|Platform||Windows, Mac||Web-based||Windows, Mac, Linux||Web-based|
|Sync between desktop and web||Yes||Yes, if desktop version purchased||Yes||Sciwheel’s lightweight desktop app is only for importing PDFs|
|Tech support||Yes||Yes||Online forum||Email support|
|Web version available||Yes: EndNote Online||Platform is web-based||Yes||Platform is web-based|