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Options for managing references

Comparison of the products and features





Ease of use Harder to learn initially  Easy to use Easy to use Moderate level
Cost Free to UniMelb users Free (for first 2GB) Free Free
Institutional access Yes Yes - create an account then upgrade  N/A Yes
Currently supported by the Library Yes Yes Yes No
Library training available Yes Yes Yes No
Open source No No Yes No
Operating system Windows, Mac

Windows, Linux, 

MAC not recommended *doesn't support OS after 10.13 (High Sierra)

Windows, Mac, Linux Windows, Mac (Write-N-Cite not yet available) 
Browser N/A Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari

Firefox, Chrome, Edge.

Safari version 13 onwards in beta

Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, 
Work offline Desktop (yes), Web (no) Yes Yes Yes (old version)
Maximum number of records per folder Unlimited Limited only by storage 30,000 Unlimited
Folder levels 2 Multiple  Multiple 2
Number of source types 45 20 33 31
Support of special characters No Yes Yes Yes (old version)
Link to PDFs Yes Yes Yes Yes (old version)
Work with word processor to create formatted bibliographies, in-text citations and footnotes


(Word, Pages)


(Word, Libre Office, Open Office) 

Yes (Word, Libre Office, Open Office, Google Docs) 

Yes (old version)

Yes (new version Word, Google Docs)

Number of referencing styles available Over 6000 Over 9000 over 9000 Over 3000
Can create a formatted list of charts, figures etc.  Yes No No No
Collaboration features Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Sharing references Difficult Yes Yes Yes
Mobile device applications iOS iOS, Android Possible with add ons
Export to BibTeX Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ease of use in ShareLaTeX Possible but difficult Easy integration Easy integration
Languages available Language set from operating system settings 50 available Language set from operating system settings English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Chinese
Attachment storage Yes Yes Yes Yes (limited)
Spell-check Yes No No  No
Duplicate detection Yes Yes Yes Yes
Field searching Yes, author Yes Yes - plain text and RegEx searching Yes, selected
Save search strategies  Yes, desktop No Yes Yes
Can you edit/create styles Yes, desktop Must edit Citation Style Language file Must edit Citation Style Language file Must edit Citation Style Language file
Create a subject bibliography Yes, desktop Yes Yes No
Importing citations from:
~ library databases Yes Yes Yes Yes
~ library catalogue Yes Yes Yes Yes
~ from websites No Yes Yes No

Decision making prompts

Which software program is recommended for my discipline?

The following table gives you suggestions on what others in your field are using. Please consult your lecturer or supervisor for further advice.

Arts Zotero, EndNote
Architecture/Design Zotero
Business and Economics EndNote, Mendeley
Education Zotero, EndNote
Law Zotero
Science/Engineering JabRef (for LaTex users), Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley
Fine Arts and Music Zotero, EndNote