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Sociology: Citation/Reference Management Tools





American Sociological Association (ASA) Style Guide

Need the official manual for other citation styles? The Libraries has them, just search the catalog. 

Citation Management Tools

What is Citation/Reference Management Software?

Software that manages your references and citations,  integrates with Word to create bibliographies and inserts in-text citations directly into documents. Most have other features that import and export files,  facilitate note-taking and  the annotations of documents, and the creation of social groups and file sharing. 

Common Features

  • Imports references directly from databases and webpages, or creates references manually. 
  • Organizes references into folders/collections/libraries.
  • Allows the full text searching of references and attached documents
  • Allows file attachment (e.g. PDF’s. audio, HTML) and reference notation.
  • Offers a wide variety of citation formats and styles..
  • Has the ability to import/export references in a variety of file types.
  • Facilitates the sharing of reference library with others.
  • OpenURl Link Resolver
  • Free Online storage of references and attachments.

How to Choose Reference Management Software.

  1. Storage: Free programs come with minimum storage with the ability to upgrade for a subscription.


  1. Web-based and desktop apps and Mobile App: Select one with a web-based access and desktop app. This ensures that you can access all your references in your online account via the Internet and also when you are not connected.


  1. File attachments: Open URL Compliant and Web links: The ability to attach PDF, Text and HTML files ensures you have your document with the reference. Image and video files can also be attached in Zotero. Web snapshots are also a convenient feature.


  1. Notes and Annotations: Most have the ability to add notes and annotate your documents. Some offer individual unlimited notes, highlights, and allow other formatting capabilities. Zotero & Mendeley attach notes directly to the PDF.


  1. Retrieve PDF Citation Data: Some will retrieve the PDF meta data of the PDF file from WorldCat, Pub Med, Cross Ref and Google Scholar. 


  1. Collaboration: Examine the collaboration features, can you share with groups, inside and out of your institution, do group members need accounts? Can you share documents with your annotations or only your reference library? Can members of the group comment/annotate the same documents?

  2. Plugins for easy import/export: Various plugins are available to allow easy import of webpage metadata, word processor integration, and allow the reference library to be transferred to other citation management software. 

Social Sciences Librarian

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Erica DeFrain
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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
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