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Citation Tools: sub-module 4 of 4 of how to cite

Writing a citation from scratch can seem like an overwhelming task. Citation generators are tools that help create a citation. Citation managers keep research sources organized, and are also capable of generating citations. You will learn more about each on this page. 

 

Tips

  • College ExpectationsYour college may not support your use of citation generators. Refer to your college guidelines before using any of the tools listed here.
  • Citation GeneratorsNeed to cite, but don't know where to start? Use a citation generator. Citation generators are tools that create references based on content pulled from a URL, or an item's metadata.
  • Find the "Cite" ButtonOnline library resources have an auto citation generator built in. Look for the Cite It, or Cite button.
  • Word Processing SoftwareWord processing apps like Microsoft Word have referencing options built into the software, so you can cite as you write your paper. Working in Google Docs? Get a citation add-on.
  • Citation ManagersWorking on extensive research? Use a citation manager to collect, store, organize and cite your sources all in one place.
  • Proofread Your Citations""Online citation tools make mistakes. Check your college library's citation guidelines and proofread your citations carefully.

Citation Managers

Citation managers, or reference managers, are tools that help collect, store, organize and cite sources all in one place. They collect reference information while you search online, using plugins that work with web browsers. References are stored, either on a computer or in the cloud. You can use word processor add-ins to automatically insert citations and references as you write.

Pros

  • easier to use a citation manager, than to start from scratch
  • citation managers save time
  • reference managers automate the process of creating properly formatted citations and references

Cons

  • citation managers and generators are prone to errors
  • generated citations need to be carefully proofread for formatting errors
  • citation guidelines need to be checked against college specific citation guidelines

The three citation managers have a lot in common. Mendeley and Zotero offer a suite of similar features, whereas EndNote Basic is the least complex of the three. The manager you choose to work will be based on your own preference. Learn more about each, by interacting with the tabs below.

Zotero - Opens in a new window is a free research manager that helps collect and organize information sources. It extracts and saves bibliographic information from web based sources, generating citations as needed. Accessible from variety of personal devices.

Watch the video below for a comprehensive overview of Zotero. This video falls outside the Creative Commons license of The Learning Portal.

Mendeley - Opens in a new window is a free reference manager, which helps with new research discovery. Mendeley imports papers from online platforms, organizes research, enables annotations, and generates bibliographies. The platform is also an academic social network.

Watch the video below for a comprehensive overview of Mendeley. This video falls outside the Creative Commons license of The Learning Portal.

EndNote Basic - Opens in a new window , also known as EndNote Web, is a free online reference manager that helps store, organize and share citations. The free version does not import bibliographic data from PDF documents, and is only accessible online.

EndNote Basic is sometimes confused with EndNote Online, which is the full version of the reference manager, available with subscription.

Watch the video below to understand the difference between the various versions of EndNote. This video falls outside the Creative Commons license of The Learning Portal.

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Citation Generators

Citation generators are online tools that automatically create references with the click of a button.

Find a Citation Generator

Search for citation generators and choose from many available tools.

Popular Citation Generators

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Cite Button in Library Resources

Most library resources including your library's online databases and search tools have citation buttons built in.

Spot the Cite Button

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Cite

Look for a button with quotation marks labeled Cite in online library resources. Click to automatically create citations for sources from the library.

 
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Citation Tools

Look for a button with a word bubble labeled Citation Tools in online library resources. Click to automatically create citations for sources from the library.