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Citation Management

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools (also called reference management software) help you:

  • Store and organize references
  • Attach PDFs and add notes to references
  • Create bibliographies and insert references into documents
  • Collaborate with others on manuscript writing

The Welch Medical Library offers classes on how to use RefWorks, EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero.

Because Johns Hopkins has a site license for RefWorks, your access to this tool is free and only requires your JHED ID and password.

EndNote can be purchased through the Johns Hopkins IT Software Catalog. Student discounts are also available through EndNote.


How Do I Choose the Correct Tool?

RefWorks, EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero each come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses, but these four tools offer the same basic features, such as:

  • Export a batch of references from a database in the tool
  • Organize these references in folders 
  • Share your citations with research groups
  • Create a bibliography of your citations in a variety of styles
  • Add a Microsoft Word plug-in that lets you cite while you write your document

Depending on your goals, one of these tools may be a better fit for your needs. Look over the following chart to evaluate the features, flexibility, and accessibility of each option.

If you need additional help selecting a citation management program or getting started using one, contact the informationist who serves your department.


Compare... RefWorks EndNote EndNote Basic Mendeley Zotero
  • Free to Johns Hopkins' affiliates
  • Legacy: Login with JHED ID
  • ProQuest: Create account
  • Free
  • Free up to 2GB
  • $5/month for 5GB
  • $10/month for 10GB
  • $15/month for unlimited storage
  • Free up to 300MB
  • $20/year for 2GB
  • $60/year for 6GB
  • $120/year for unlimited storage
  • Web
  • Desktop and Web
  • Web
  • Desktop and Web
  • Desktop and Web
Mobile Access
  • Group accounts in Legacy RefWorks
  • Shared folders in ProQuest RefWorks
  • Collaboration available with v. X8 and later
  • Can share folders
  • One private group with up to three members, free
  • Group plans start from $49/month for five or more people
  • Assign members to online groups
PDF Markup
  • No
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
Export from Databases
  • Choose "RefWorks Direct Export"
  • Choose RIS file type export
  • Yes
  • Choose RIS file type export
  • Choose RIS file type export
Export from Web
  • Use Ref Grab It
  • N/A
  • No
  • Use Web Importer Chrome plugin
  • Use Zotero Chrome plugin
Word Processing Integration
  • Download Write-N-Cite from the Tools section
  • Use One Line Cite if WNC cannot be downloaded
  • Cite-While-You-Write is part of the EndNote software purchase
  • Cite-While-You-Write  plugin
  • Install MS Word plugin
  • Install MS Word plugin
  • Ease of use
  • Collaboration
  • Free to Johns Hopkins affiliates
  • Amount of storage
  • Bulk download of PDFs with institution credentials
  • Strong deduplication capability
  • Ease of use
  • Collaboration
  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Web importer function
  • Single download PDFs
  • Web features
  • Matches metadata to PDFs
  • Interface
Limitations for Large Reviews
  • Can only import small files at a time
  • Limited PDF storage
  • Limited deduplication capability
  • Limited web features
  • No collaboration prior to v. X8
  • Limited storage
  • No sharing of PDFs
  • No bulk downloads
  • Cost for large projects and large teams
  • No bulk download of PDFs
  • Cost for large projects
  • Reference IDs don't export easily
  • Limited deduplication capability