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Cite It!: Citation Managers

Want to know more about creating citations and references? The answers lie within this guide!

Citation Managers

It is important to understand why and how to include citations in your work. Once you've mastered the basics, you can use a citation manager to keep your research organized and to automatically generate citations (in-line, foot/end note and bibliographic).

As you will be using them to help interpret data for your citation, never assume that the results are perfect. Sometimes the data from the website is wrong, or the program is not using the newest style of the citation.

It is your responsibility to review the results to make sure that they are correct, but in many cases these programs do a wonderful job in handling your citations.

  • Beginner
    • Microsoft Word
    • KnightCite
    • CiteULike
  • Intermediate
    • Zotero
    • Mendeley
  • Advanced
    • Citavi

Microsoft Word

In the 2007 revamp of Word, the wizards of Microsoft added a citation manager under the References Tab. Sources are added manually and exported in the chosen style, automatically formatted as in-line citations, works cited or bibliography. This is a great tool for those who have not worked with citations and references in the past and need some guidance.


Created in 2007 by the library at Calvin College in the US, this website has become a favourite among librarians as it provides simple and accurate citations.  While it lacks the automation of others, the results are solid and easy to correct.

Absolutely a website worth trying.


CiteULike research organizer lives in the cloud (no downloads) and acts as a combo social network (think LinkedIn) and citation manager. You can add resources automatically (sort of - it almost never worked properly during testing) or manually, join like-minded research communities, get suggestions for futher resources based on your added research and set up watch-lists according to your research criteria. You can also tag and rate items and blog about your research.

Note: this free service is supported by ads - lots of them. It also doesn't automatically generate in-line citations or bibliographies.


An add-on for Chrome, Zotero goes one step further than Microsoft Word - it will automatically download the citation information from compatible sites (like article databases, library catalogues, and websites). Users can organize their citations into folders (by assignment, by class, etc.), add tags, make notations, and automatically generate a bibliographies in dozens of citation styles. A Word plugin is available for download; once installed, a special Zotero toolbar appears and allows users to insert citations and generate bibliographies inside their .docx file. Syncing is also available to allow users to have the same citations available on any computer they have access to.

Zotero isn't for beginners - users have to be able to recognize when citation information is missing or has been incorrectly downloaded, but it is much more robust and has more bells and whistles than Word.

Using Zotero at CapU

CapU Library Catalogue
Automatic download of citations to Zotero - when you do a catalogue search, wait for the folder icon (results page) or book icon (item record) to appear at the end of the URL window. 

Ebsco Databases
(Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, Communication and Mass media Complete, CINAHL, ERIC, Hospitality & Tourism Complete, MedLINE, PsycINFO & PsycArticles)
Automatic download of citations via URL window - wait for the folder icon (results list) or article icon (article record) to appear at the end of the URL window.

ProQuest Databases
(CBCA Reference & Current Events and Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies)
Automatic download of citations via "Export" function - follow these steps:

  1. In the results list, check the boxes for the articles your want to export OR click on the title to see the article record.
  2. Click "Export".
  3. Choose "ProCite, EndNote or Reference Manager" from the drop-down list and hit "Continue".
  4. The first time you go through this process, you will see a pop-up window asking if it’s OK to export to Zotero – check the box for “Always Allow…” and then click Yes.



Mendeley has quickly become the darling of the scientific community. This automated, web-based platform combines citation management with document management that's topped off with social networking tools. If you are working on a group project, this is the app for you!

Mendeley works in a cloud-based online account that you can access on your Windows or Mac computer. There is also a desktop program where you can easily sync between work you do at school and then save your documents to your home computer. This feature combines the ease of saving documents either online or on your personal desktop with the peace of mind that if your home computer has any problems, your research will be safe and sound.

With a plugin for Microsoft Word, it is easy to add documents to your research paper either as an in-text citation or as your bibliography.

The key to Mendeley, and the reason it is so popular in the Sciences, is the ability to share documents. If you are working on a group project, people can be tasked with different aspects of the research and then save all of their documents to a shared folder. Add friends and colleagues just as easily as you do on Facebook. Plus you can join larger community groups on special subjects, which will keep you up-to-date on new ideas.



Citavi is latin for "I cited."  It was created in 1995 at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany where it gained wide support.  In February 2011, an English version of the program was released.  Citavi was buit BY academics and FOR academics.  It combines many of the features of Zotero and Mendeley with easy document management and automated retrieval, but it also adds the ability to save quotes from your articles and organize your notes for your paper.

Citavi is a desktop program only available in Windows. You can use it on a Macintosh, however only when you run a virtualized Windows desktop - sadly, they had to abandon their plans to make a Mac version. Once you have downloaded the program, you can install a Citavi "picker" for Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer, which lets you download the information on the page for your references. It can also save the webpage as a PDF and add it to your research. Web pages, article DOIs, and book ISBNs are all easily added to any research project.

This video gives you all of the basics of Citavi in 3 minutes.


ISBN: Unique identifing number for books.  Stands for International Standard Book Number. 
DOI: unique identifying code for journal articles.  Stands for Digital Object Identifier. 
WorldCat: a centralized website of library books including the authors, title, publication data and more.  A "Library" of library data. 
Picker: Intermediate and advanced programs have utilities to gather, or "pick", the data you need for citations straight from webpages.