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Citation Managers: Getting Started

Guide to choosing and using a citation manager

Citation Managers

A citation manager helps you "capture" records of articles, books, and other publications as you are researching, organize them as needed for your future use, and from these records create in-text citations and bibliographies in your preferred citation style. These managers allow storage of pdfs and integrate with word processing programs. Most allow capture of web links. Each manager has options for group-based collaborative research.

We recommend that you explore a variety of citation managers, consulting with library staff as needed, before choosing one. We can provide guidance on best practices and share our experiences.

Choosing a Citation Manager

There are many factors involved in choosing a citation manager.  Here are some considerations:

  • What are your colleagues, peers, labmates, advisors using? 
  • Is there a preferred or dominant citation manager in your field of study? 
  • Are you always working where there is reliable Internet access, or do you need a manager that you can sometimes access off-line?

This Wikipedia article offers useful charts covering a large number of managers, comparing operating system support, export and import file formats, citation styles, reference list file formats, and word processor integration: Comparison of reference management software

Here are a couple of other less-complex manager comparison charts, covering fewer managers:




Important Notice About Refworks

Our subscription to RefWorks , the citation manager supported by the UMaine System for the last several years, ended on June 30, 2019. This utility has been dropped or phased out at a number of UMS campuses.

We offer one-on-one sessions to help you get started with a new citation manager. To schedule a one-on-one session, contact Mel Johnson (207.581.3614,


Mel Johnson's picture
Mel Johnson
(207) 581-3614
Reference Services, Fogler Library
University of Maine, Orono, Maine

5729 Fogler Library · University of Maine · Orono, ME 04469-5729 ; (207) 581-1673

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