Information skills

Referencing software

There are various referencing software packages available to help you keep track of the resources you have used.


EndNote is a software package that enables you to compile and manage your references, and to use them to automatically create in-text citations and bibliographies as you work.

EndNote enables you to compile and manage your own 'libraries' of references, either by typing in the details of references individually or by downloading the results of searching online research databases. It works in conjunction with Microsoft Word via the ‘Cite While You Write’ feature, which allows you to automatically generate citations and bibliographies in your Word document.

EndNote includes over 5,000 referencing styles, including all the major referencing systems such as Harvard and MLA, and the preferred styles for the leading academic journals. It is therefore very easy to create citations and bibliographies in the correct style for your purposes.

EndNote is installed on the public cluster PCs across our campuses. It is covered by the University’s EndNote Site Licence, which allows installation of the software on any University-owned PC at no further charge per copy. Students may purchase personal copies of EndNote at a discounted rate by logging into IT Services list of Frequently used software and following the instructions online.

Training and Help

EndNote.com and EndNote Basic

EndNote Basic is a free web-based version of EndNote, with 2GB of storage and the 20 most popular bibliographic styles. EndNote.com (sometimes still called EndNote Web) is the online version of the full EndNote programme, enabling you to access your EndNote references from any computer with an internet connection. It is available to both staff and students as part of the University's subscription to EndNote and to Thompson Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge database.

EndNote.com allows you to collect and organise your references, and to collaborate with others. You can organise your references into groups for easier management and share them over the web with other EndNote users.You can use it to create citations and bibliographies in your work in whichever style you require (e.g. Chicago, Harvard, MLA). 

EndNote.com acts as a backup to the desktop version, so that you can easily transfer references between the two versions. EndNote provides a comparison between this and the Basic version.

Reference Manager

Reference Manager is also covered by the University’s Site Licence.

Please note that the Library does not support Reference Manager, but you may find the following Guide and tutorials useful :

Reference Manager Quick Start Guide
The Reference Manager YouTube Channel has some video demonstrations that you might like to look at.

Free and alternative software

Some researchers have created alternatives to the commercial packages, many of which are free. The main reasons for this development are a growing trend towards collaborative research, particularly in science, for which the older systems were not designed, and technical developments in the networking of data and metadata.

These alternatives vary in their approach, but since most of them are web applications they are generally more flexible to use than their commercial rivals. Most provide the basic tools that allow the user to collect and organise data and to produce citations in the standard formats. They have all added useful ways of sharing data and collaborating.

Mendeley is both a free reference manager and an academic social network designed to help researchers find and work with collaborators. Although you do have to download the program, it is free and web-based. This means you are not restricted to working on any single computer and have access to your data from anywhere in the world as it is stored remotely. Although you can link to any of the usual sources for your bibliographic data, the programme also extracts metadata from any documents you download and allows you to search the full text of PDFs you have collected. Mendeley sits as an icon on your desktop.

Zotero operates in a similar way but is designed specifically to work with the Mozilla Firefox browser.  Your data is again stored remotely; only 100MB is provided free, although this can be topped up. This guide to using Zotero was originally created for a British Library course.

Citeulike is Springer’s site. When you register you will be asked if you want to link with your Facebook account. A useful feature associated with this service is current issues, which allows you to browse the tables of contents of over 13,000 journal titles.

Papers (Mentekosj) was developed by two PhD researchers as a Mac-based tool using a similar approach to iTunes, the music provider. Versions of Papers are also available from the iTunes App Store for use with iPads and iPhones and a PC client is also now available. You can trial this software for free for 30 days, but you do need to pay to use it after that.

RefBase (Web Reference Database) is reference management software often used for self-archiving. As it is widely used, the homepage provides examples for demonstration purposes to save you having to register to decide.

For further discussion on the different options available, please see the Researcher Briefing: Reference Management paper, produced by the University's CASCADE Project. This includes some discussion on the functions and capabilities of the different software options available.