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Citation Managers: Getting Started

Guide to choosing and using a citation manager

Important Notice About Refworks

RefWorks, the citation manager supported by the UMaine System for the last several years, will be phased out by the end of the 2018-2019 Academic Year.  This utility will be dropped or phased out at a number of UMS campuses. Our subscription to RefWorks will be ending on June 30, 2019.

Your RefWorks records can be saved and imported into most other citation management systems. See the Switching Managers tab within this guide for pointers on transferring your records into another Citation Manager.

We offer one-on-one sessions to help you and your records make the transition. To schedule a one-on-one session, contact Mel Johnson (207.581.3614,

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:





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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