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Reference management

Systematically collecting, organising and citing your literature can be an overwhelming and time consuming process. A reference manager, like EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero, can help you with that.   

Reference management software enables you to:  

  • search, store and organise literature, including PDFs, in a personal database ; 

  • automatically insert well-formatted citations and bibliographies into Word in your style of choice ; 

  • share citations , notes and articles with your colleagues. 

EndNoteMendeley and Zotero are available in the Software Center. Mendeley and Zotero are both free programmes that you can install on your own device as well. 

Which reference manager you want to use depends on different aspects. Firstly, a specific reference manager may be preferred within your field. To make collaborating easier, picking the reference manager your peers use might be a good choice. This will allow you to share documents, annotations and references more easily. 

Other factors to take into consideration are your personal preferences and working style. Do you primarily collect PDFs from e-journals, or do you collect bibliographic references from catalogues? In case of the former, you’ll most likely prefer Mendeley because of its elaborate PDF feature. In case of the latter, you may want to use EndNote, as its exporting feature is very straightforward. Zotero gives you the possibility to add websites and other online sources directly to your library, which might be very useful in your field.

For a more comprehensive comparison of reference management software see this Wikipedia article. Not sure which programme to use yet? Don’t worry, it is relatively easy to switch to another programme if you change your mind! 

Instruction manuals, courses and tutorials

Find instruction manuals for all three programmes offered by Leiden University on the left side of this page, or navigate to the EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero manual directly.

Leiden University Libraries teaches courses on EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero. Enroll for your course of choice via the menu on the right side of this page.


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