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Reference Managers: Home

What are reference managers?

Why would I use a reference manager?

Reference managers can help you:

  • keep track of articles, books, and other sources you might use in your writing,
  • organize, read, and annotate those materials, and
  • automatically generate in-text citations and bibliographies in your papers!

The River Campus Libraries offer and support several reference managers. Below you can compare them at a glance, or use the tabs on this guide to find more information about an individual tool. 


Which reference manager is for me?

Reference Managers Supported by UR

The University of Rochester supports multiple reference managers. Some are completely free, and some are only free as long as you are affiliated with the university. When choosing which one is right for you, the information listed here will be helpful. Feel free to try two or three different ones and see what you like! 


  • Storage: As much space as your computer has available 
  • Free to UR students, but only until they graduate.
  • You can set up preferences to search within specific databases with a personalized interface.
  • You have to pay for any upgrades yourself after you graduate. 
  • Has tools for sharing references among a group.
  • EndNote Desktop has the most flexibility in formatting citations.
    • Around 1-2 hours to learn​​​​​​​


  • Storage: 2 GB
  • Free software that you can download to your computer.
  • Takes all of your PDF article files and organizes them.
  • Great for .pdf editing and has a growing community of scholars.
  • Has some difficulty downloading citations and .pdf files from library databases.
  • Older .pdf files that do not have proper metadata will not give proper citation information to Mendeley. 
  • Around 1+ hour to learn


  • Storage: 5GB
  • Free to UR students and useable after graduation.
  • Available on the web via login with a username and password.
  • Requires an internet connection, and therefore cannot be used offline.
  • Downloads article citations, but does not focus on multimedia sources.
  • Has tools for sharing references among a group.
  • Around 30 minutes to learn


  • Storage: 300MB or as much space as your computer has
  • Open source software that you can download in your browser. 
  • Saves citations and connections to online videos, pictures, pdfs, articles, books, and more.
  • Used with your personal browser or computer.
  • To use it on multiple computers you have to carry your library settings on an external device.
  • Works well when a record has attachments.
  • Around 30 minutes to learn


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Related Resources

Our Writing & Citing guide offers help for students who may be struggling to fully understand why and how to cite the information they are using, as opposed to the advice on how to keep track of your resources through a reference management tool. If you have questions about plagiarism or a specific citation style, such as APA, ACS, MLA, or Chicago, that might be a better guide to visit.