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Citation Management Tools

This guide shares helpful citation tools that will keep you organized when collecting multiple citations.

Save Your Citations

Tips for saving & organizing your citations:

  1. Do not just save the URLs from your internet browser. They will not work to get back to an article or online resource.
  2. Choose a method that works for you
  3. Consider your discipline
  4. Consider after Graduation. Some tools are free for everyone, some are only free while attending MSU. 

Organizing Options:

  1. Download and save the full text PDF of files, and save them in one location. Saving to a cloud based location, such as OneDrive or Google Drive is recommended, to allow you to do your research from anywhere. 
  2. Like URLs? Save the permalink to resources (this is different than the URL from your browser; it is short for permanent-link. Instructions below)
  3. Use a Citation Manager, which is a software program to save your citations, and integrate into Word to auto format in-text and full citations. 
    • Use this guide to help choose what citation manager is best for you:
      • EndNote
      • Mendeley
      • Zotero

Saving a permalink:

  1. Search for the item in CatSearch by title, author, etc. 
  2. Click on the resource title
  3. Click the permalink button to copy the permalink
  4. Save the permalink in a file or location you will remember

" "

Choosing a Citation Tool

Citation Managers can help you" "

  • Format citations
  • Create bibliographies
  • Import citations from databases and websites
  • Store and organize PDFs, screenshots, and other files
  • Integrate into MS Word

Which one should I use?

Use the one that works best for you! (None are perfect and all take awhile to learn.) Here are some suggestions:

  • Extensive citations to track or planning many articles? EndNote
  • Love the idea of social networking with citations? Mendeley
  • Firefox user and want quick import of web pages? Zotero

Citation & PDF Management Programs

These are the most commonly used citation managers.  They are useful if you are working on multiple projects at once that use the same citations, if you have a large number of citations you want to retain and use, or if you are working on a theses, dissertation, or a work for publication. 


  • Free for MSU students, faculty, & staff.  
  • For Windows or Mac
  • Organizes citations, take notes, and format references in Word.
  • Store article PDFs and Figures
  • Automatic PDF import and full text retrieval
  • Integrates well with Web of Science
  • Includes EndNote Web access for sharing
  • Frequently used by MSU researchers 


  • Free
  • Use to organize citations, take notes, and format references in Word
  • Can store up to 2GB of article PDFs (5GB w/ MSU Institutional account)
  • Emphasizes sharing: Social networking meets citation management
  • Share citations, notes, and annotations
  • On the Web and desktop version (Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad)
  • Web browser import button


  • Free
  • Use to organize citations, take notes, and format references in Word
  • 300MB of storage (more for a fee)
  • Firefox plugin or desktop version (Windows, Mac, Linux)
  • Web browser import button

Citations Help and Style Guide