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Library Services for Faculty

Everything you need to know to get started with the CORE Library

What's a Citation Manager?

Citation managers -- also known as "research management software" -- are programs that store and format scholarly references and citations.  They can be used to keep track of books, articles, websites, and other sources of information; for formatting citations properly using a variety of citation styles; for sharing research; and sometimes even offer outlining, notetaking, or even paper formatting services.

Most citation managers will help you to do the following:

  • Store citations
  • Organize citations
  • Create bibliographies or reference pages in a variety of styles
  • Take notes on articles or create annotated citations
  • Export and share your citations with others

Some of the benefits of research management software are that they will "remember" your library of references, so you don't have to re-find or re-generate the same references over and over.   They often can sync across devices, so your library is available to you wherever you are and whatever device you are using.

What's a Citation Generator?

Citation generators are online tools that can generate a one-time use, single bibliography or works cited entry for you..   Citation generators are tools in which you use a DOI or "Cite" function available within a website or database, and then the citation generator formats it into the style you need. 

For example, the databases at the CORE Library offer a "Cite" link to generate the citation for that article or book in various formats.  So do articles found at PubMed, and many other sources.   These are citation generators.

Citation generators may also offer an option for you to manually enter the information (author, publisher, date, etc) to create a citation formatted according to your specifications (APA, MLA, AMA, etc.)

How do citation generators work?

  1. The generator receives information about a source. This information can be manually entered by you into the generator or it can be information captured from the source, known as "metadata."  This can include page titles, descriptions, keywords, author, date created, etc.
  2. The generator processes this information according to settings the user has specified (e.g., the citation style and the medium). 
  3. The generator produces a citation (or set of citations) that the user can use.

CAVEAT:  Citation generators are only as good as the information that is entered into them, and the choice that you make regarding format of the citation. 

Always make sure to double-check that your generated citations are correct either with a style guide or at the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Citation generators are a helpful first step, but they are subject to errors.

Citation Managers

There are many different citation managers or research management tools out there.  Some are free and some have a cost attached to them. Some may include citation generators that can format an APA citation for you*.  Below are a few of the options that CGI students, faculty, and staff have found useful.

  Zotero Mendeley EndNote Basic PERRLA
Cost Free for basic account; some cost for more online storage space Free for basic account; some cost for more online storage space The basic version is free; there is a paid subscription option. $79.95 per year
Access Options

Browser plugin

Desktop Utility

Word integration

Mobile app

Browser plugin

Desktop Utility

Word integration

Mobile app

Browser plugin

Word integration

Online version and Word integration for Windows/Mac included with fee
APA Citation Formatting* Yes Yes Yes Yes
Import Records from Databases Yes Yes Yes No; it requires that you use its own citation builder.

Sync your library with multiple computers

Uses tags to organize/search

Annotated bibliographies can be created using the "Extra" field

Sync library with multiple computers

Sync with Zotero library

Can annotate/highlight PDFs

Insert figures and charts using word processor integration A more comprehensive product than just a citation manager -- you can write your entire paper directly in PERRLA.
Why Choose This One? Single-click capture works with more databases and websites than Mendeley.  Uses metadata to create citations just from dragging a PDF into Zotero.  Open source. Strongest website and community platform; best if you are primarily creating citations from PDFs. EndNote is the old man in the neighborhood.  Best if you work with unusual or complex citation styles, and then those are available only through the paid version. Works best if you also need help formatting an APA-style paper.  
Research Guide Zotero Mendeley EndNote Basic --


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