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Researching the Literature Review

How to guide for researching and managing the literature review.

Why Use Citation Managers?

Citation management software makes it easy for you to:

  • Keep all your citations in one place
  • Search the papers you collect by author, title, journal, subject headings or your own keywords
  • Insert footnotes or endnotes directly into your documents
  • Automatically generate bibliographies or works cited lists in particular style formats
  • Take searchable notes that are all stored in one place
  • Share group libraries of articles with collaborators (depending on your software)

Hanging file folders


Zotero is a free tool you can use with Firefox or Chrome that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use and lives in your web browser where you do your work. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections (or groups you can share with collaborators) for different projects, and create bibliographies using Word (for Mac or Windows), Google Docs, or OpenOffice.Creating a library from articles in a database with Zotero

Learn more about Zotero at this guide or come to a Zotero workshop at the library (see schedule).


EndNote is a personal citation/bibliography manager software program that helps researchers organize references in a library.  References in the library can be used to easily create bibliographies and format references in word processing software.  The most robust and fully-featured version of EndNote is the client version, which is loaded onto an individual users machine (a multi-user option is also available). EndNote is free for OSU graduate students while at OSU.Creating bibliographies in Word with EndNote

Learn more about EndNote at this guide or come to an EndNote workshop at the library (see schedule).


Mendeley is free academic software (works with Windows, Mac & Linux) that allows you to manage, share, read, annotate and cite your research papers.  It is also a research network to manage your papers online, discover research trends and statistics, and to connect to like-minded researchers.  Using Mendeley you can also create in-text citations and bibliographies in many citation styles.

Take notes and highlight PDFs within your Mendeley library

Learn more about Mendeley at this guide or by coming to a Mendeley workshop at the library (see schedule).

Citation Manager Comparison

Many people like to know the pros and cons between the various citation management software choices before they start using a particular tool.  Here is a brief overview of the differences between Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley.  A more in-depth comparison between EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero is attached if you are interested.

  Zotero Mendeley EndNote
Cost Free Free Free for OSU Students through IS software licensing program; faculty/staff purchase annual license
Web based? Yes Yes, but not primarily Has web capabilities
Storage capacity Unlimited local storage and data syncing; Unlimited free Zotero file syncing if you register with an OSU email address Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 1GB personal and 100MB shared online space (larger online storage plans available for purchase) Unlimited local storage
Create group or shared libraries Yes Yes, free for up to 3 group members (larger group plans available for purchase) Yes, up to 15 members
Number of Citation Styles +9000 styles +9000 styles ~5000

Current Library Workshop Schedule

Check out the current library workshop calendar for workshops on Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.

How Do You Keep Track of Your Sources?

How Do You Keep Track of Your Sources?
Zotero: 4 votes (13.79%)
EndNote: 6 votes (20.69%)
EndNote Web: 0 votes (0%)
Mendeley: 11 votes (37.93%)
LaTeX: 2 votes (6.9%)
File folders: 1 votes (3.45%)
Notebook: 2 votes (6.9%)
I don't keep track of the references I find.: 0 votes (0%)
Other: 3 votes (10.34%)
Total Votes: 29