Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
hse hli logo

Reference and Citation Managers: About Reference Managers

Guide to reference management systems.

Introduction to Reference and Citation Management

On this page you will find: 

  • What Reference and Citation Managers do
  • Links to download some popular ones
  • Links to the home pages of some popular ones
  • A link to a comparison table
  • A Reference Manager Selection Checklist 
  • Links to video tutorials

and more...

The links at the top of the page lead to more information on some popular Reference Managers and more information about referencing and citation. 

NOTE: Refworks is not subscribed to as of January 2022

Introduction to Reference Managers

Reference Management Systems, Reference management software, citation management software or Bibliographic management software helps the student or researcher manage bibliographic citations (references), the addition of notes while allowing the sharing of references to a group, and collaborative working. References and citations recorded can be reused as required to generate inline citations and bibliographies for assignments and publication.  

The system/software normally allows the user to save citation details to a ‘library’ and folders.

There is frequently a browser extension or plugin and a desktop application to be set up. Most integrate into word processing software to help manage the formatting of inline citations and generation of bibliographies.

Normally, the user can import references and citations from other systems and sites, including other reference management software if it is in one of the standard formats such as:

Zotero RDF


MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema)




Unqualified Dublin Core RDF

Endnote XML

XML ContextObject

Web of Science Tagged


Other functions may include:

  • Searching the online subscriptions of a library for full text
  • Searching Google Scholar for full text
  • Searching library catalogues for print books and print journals
  • Selecting and setting your citation style
  • Generating bibliographies without having to launch a word processing package.

Reference Management System Selection Checklist

When selecting a reference manager, consider whether you want to do the following 

  • Access the website, install a browser extension, install the desktop version on the PC you want to use it on.
    • Your personal pc may have fewer restrictions than a work PC, or those connecting from within the HSE network  
  • Work online via online library and browser extension
  • Browser compatibility
  • Work Offline, and download/sync from your online library of saved references
  • Operating System Compatibility
  • Word processing package compatibility
  • Collaborate with others on bibliographies
  • Collaborate with others to share libraries
  • Import/Export file formats supported
  • Preloaded reference styles
  • Editable/customisable reference styles
  • Edit data fields  
  • Cost
  • Video tutorials
  • Where to get access
  • Mobile device friendly
  • Search for full text content from within the reference manager

Download a reference manager

Which Reference Manager do you use?

Which Reference Manager do you use?
EndNote Desktop - with license: 0 votes (0%)
EndNote Web aka EndNote Basic - no license required: 0 votes (0%)
RefWorks - License required: 1 votes (33.33%)
Mendeley - License required: 0 votes (0%)
Mendeley -- no license required: 0 votes (0%)
Zotero - no license required: 2 votes (66.67%)
ReadCube Papers - Personal subscription: 0 votes (0%)
Noodlebox - Personal Subscription: 0 votes (0%)
Bookends - Personal Subscription: 0 votes (0%)
Other: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 3

Reference Management - Useful Links

Video tutorials for Reference Managers


Profile Photo
Niamh Walker Headon
They / Theirs
Health Library Ireland
087 4354211

Health Library Ireland, Health Service Executive. Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8. Tel: 01-6352555/8. Email: