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Mathematical Sciences

Reference management software

What is reference management software?

Reference management software allows you to collect, store and organise your references, and insert them into your documents quickly and easily. Once you have stored a reference, you can use it over and over again in your bibliographies. This can save you a lot of time, as you don't have to manually type a reference each time you cite a particular source.

For a quick introduction, check out our introduction to reference management software video:

There are many different reference management software packages available, and you should choose the one that works best for you. The University of Essex supports EndNote, however there are other openly available software options that you'll be able to find online (e.g. Mendley, Zotero). 

Choosing your reference management software

You may find it helpful to test different reference management software packages to see which one you prefer working with. A few things you might want to consider when choosing your reference manager are:

  • Accessibility: Is the software desktop- or web-based?
  • Referencing Styles: Is the citation/referencing style you need to use available in the software?
  • Cost: Is the software free regardless of institutional affiliation (e.g. Mendeley, Zotero)? Is it free with an institutional sign-in (e.g. EndNote is free for Essex users)? Is there a one-off or annual subscription fee to pay? 
  • Compatibility: Is the software compatible with your operating system and/or the word processing software you use?
  • Collaboration: If you're planning to share your references with colleagues, which software do they use?

EndNote is installed on all computers in the IT labs on campus. EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero can be downloaded to your own computer.

Get help with reference management software

EndNote is the officially supported reference management software at the University of Essex. You can find information on what support is available on the ITS EndNote webpage.

  • ITS run regular training sessions for students on how to use EndNote to manage your references, which you can book onto via CareerHub.
  • You can find further learning resources on the EndNote Moodle page.
  • Find answers to frequently asked questions on the EndNote FAQ page.

Mendeley is an openly available reference management software. You can download the software from the Mendeley website, and find more information on its features in their help guides.

This may be an alternative software if you find that you do not like EndNote, however please be aware that we are unable to provide 1-1 support for Mendeley.

Please note that there is a known issue with the Mendeley citation plug-in for Microsoft Word. This affects users who have installed Office365 via the University of Essex subscription. If this is the case for you, we would recommend that you look at an alternative reference management software.

Zotero is an open-source reference management software. You can download the software from the Zotero website, and find more information on its features in their detailed documentation.

This may be an alternative software if you find that you do not like EndNote, however please be aware that we are unable to provide 1-1 support for Zotero.

Transferring references from one RMS to another

You might use one reference management software and decide that it isn't working for you, and that's okay! If you want to change your reference management software, you don't have to worry about losing all the references you've already saved - these can be easily transferred between software.

Select the software you want to use from the tab below. You'll find links to guidance on how to transfer your existing library into your new software of choice.

The links below will take you to guidance on how to import references from Mendeley or Zotero into EndNote. This is for if you want to start using EndNote.

The links below will take you to guidance on how to import references from EndNote or Zotero into Mendeley. This is for if you want to start using Mendeley.

The links below will take you to guidance on how to import references from EndNote or Mendeley into Zotero. This is for if you want to start using Zotero.