Citation Management Software

There are many choices when it comes to software for managing bibliographies and articles.  There are web-based tools and software that you install on your computer. Some are free, others you buy, and currently two are available through licenses from the Libraries.  The Biomedical Library provides workshops and consultation support for several tools that are popular among UCSD researchers and students.  The following is a summary of some of the tools available that work well to get references in from library databases and also work with your word processor, generally via a plugin you install.

Product/Type Cost Description
Desktop software

Bookstore: $110 (students), $200 (academics)

Buy online for $78 (UCSD email address required)


Powerful desktop tool for managing citations and PDFs, images and captions. Works with word processors through a plugin for formatting bibliographies in hundreds of output styles. Can search many databases directly for easy importing of records.

Workshops available at BML.
  - EndNote info - BML
  - EndNote company website

EndNote Web

Basic version free at UCSD


Enhanced version comes with purchase of desktop version

Web based citation management tool provided by same company as EndNote desktop, but this is free at UCSD through a library license. Interface is quite different from EndNote desktop tool.  Also works with word processors via a plugin.
  - EndNote Web main page


Purchasers of the desktop version above receive access to a more fully-featured version of EndNote Web with more storage.

Free at UCSD Web based citation management tool. Works with word processors through a plugin, can search PubMed and library catalogs directly for easy importing of records. Workshops available at the UCSD Libraries. Includes personal storage space for managing PDFs, ability to share reading lists publicly online. Especially popular with students. See our RefWorks support pages for more detail. Workshops available at BML and the Social Sciences and Humanities Libraries.
  - RefWorks info - Biomedical Library
  - RefWorks main page
Desktop software with Web components
Free for basic service Free desktop program for managing citations, works with word processor via a plugin. Web component allows you to share readings publicly or with private groups. Excellent PDF handling and annotation tools. Paid upgrades provide for more storage and larger private groups.
Desktop software
Free for basic service
Zotero is a Firefox browser plugin and now also offers a desktop version. It is a fully functional citation management tool that integrates with your browser so that your documents and citations are always handy. Especially useful is its ability to take snapshots of online content including Google Scholar search results. A plugin for word processors is available for manuscript preparation.  Paid upgrades provide for more storage space.

There are many more programs available, including programs for LaTeX users, some specific for Mac users, and many more. Wikipedia has an exhaustive comparison chart of these: