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Human Information Behavior (17:610:510): Citation Managers

Library research guide for Human Information Behavior (17:610:510).

Using Citation Managers


  • An investment of an hour or so now in researching, choosing, installing, and learning a citation manager will save you UNTOLD hours of work and hassle every single semester. And if you are planning an academic career and expecting to research and write professionally, you will need this. At the most basic level, it’s software that helps you keep track of all the resources you use. Think of it as a digital filing cabinet.
  • A citation manager helps you keep track of the resources you find, tag them with searchable descriptors that are useful to you, and create citations and bibliographies. Most have ways to capture full bibliographic citations from databases and the Internet. Most also have ways to support group work and share your databases.
  • Even if you do NOTHING else with a citation manager, it’s useful for organizing and storing bibliographic information about your sources, as well as PDFs of sources themselves, as a searchable database.
  • If you have a diary assignment about your OWN information-seeking behavior, this is a good way to collect the notes about what led you to each article, like what search terms you used, what database you found it in, whether you had to request it through ILL, and so on.
  • At a higher level, you can use citation managers to format the citations for your works cited page in the style you choose. The simplest way is to just copy and paste the information from the preview screen to your paper. But most have plug-ins for Word that will let you format the in-text or footnote citation and automatically generate the bibliography – and then change formats with a click of a button if you need to, for example if you wrote something in MLA and want to change it to APA.
  • Zotero, Mendeley, and the basic online version of EndNote are free and can get you started; and for most of these, you can transfer citations from one platform to another if you change your mind. You can also get the full versions of EndNote and RefWorks free as a Rutgers student. At top level under Services and Tools, Tools, there is info on EndNote and RefWorks and how to obtain them and find tutorials and other trainings.
    • Comparing and choosing citation managers:

Rutgers Recommended Citation Managers

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