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Citation management for students in MFLL 550

Citation Software Basics


Citation managers aid in the gathering and organizing of research materials. Usually, they are software installed on your computer, but accessible online or from other computers if you create an account. There are many to choose from, but Endnote and Zotero are the most popular on UTK's campus. Some other options are RefWorks, BibTeX (which works with LaTex), and Mendelay. Mendeley is primarily used by researchers in the hard sciences. LaTex is used with BibTeX, which is a typesetting program useful for researchers inserting equations or other non-standard characters (scientists, mathematicians, linguists), but learning it is very involved. RefWorks is more commonly used by undergraduates. 


Endnote is available through UTK OIT.

Zotero is open-source and free. 

Citation Software Basics

Whichever software you are using for citation management, using the software can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Gathering
  2. Management
  3. Usage

1. Gathering

Once you have your preferred software set up, you can begin to gather your sources. You can do this manually by creating a new reference entry and filling out the fields, you can export citation data from most databases, or with Zotero and Endnote you can use their respective browser add-ons. These add-ons will work with many sources. 

Be sure to check your sources for accuracy after importing! While these add-ons will save you a lot of time, they may not import everything correctly. Check editors, translators, and other non-authors (such as author of an introduction or commentary) especially as these are often imported as authors.


2. Management

Once you have your sources, you can begin to organize them how you want. This can be done through using multiple libraries, sub-libraries (Zotero), tags (Zotero), groups (EndNote), or ratings (EndNote).

If you create an online profile with whatever program you are using, you will be able to access and manage your library online and from multiple computers. Be aware that with EndNote storing the library file (.enz file) online in any form may corrupt the library; if you want to have access to your EndNote library on multiple computers, create and online account and use the "Sync" feature (under preferences).


3. Usage

Once your sources are in your library how you'd like, you can then use them in your document. There are two ways to do this.

First, you can manually export your citations. Simply select whichever entries you would like to export and select "Create Bibliography from Items" (Zotero) or "Copy Formatted" (EndNote). Note this will only create a bibliography; you will still need to manually cite each source in the paper.

Second, both Zotero and EndNote have built-in functionality with several word processors that enable you to cite sources from your library. ​See the following table for compatibility:



• Free download for everyone

• Easy-to-use open-source desktop software

• Add-ons for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari

• Stores PDF files with references

• 300MB of storage

• Collaborates and shares resources


• Free download for UT students, faculty, and staff. 

• Powerful desktop software.

• Web interface through EndNote basic and Web of Science. 

• Stores PDF files with references.

• Unlimited storage

• Collaborates and shares resource



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