Reference management tools allow you to save references you find in the same place as your own database. For example, you can organise your references by topic or by purpose into folders or groups. You may also be able to share the contents of your folders and groups with other users of the same reference management tool. In most cases, you can download a stand-alone desktop version, in addition to a browser version, and some also offer a mobile application. With an online account, you can synchronise your references between the different program versions.
Several databases give you a chance to download references from the search results directly to reference management tools. A browser add-on for the reference manager may allow you to export references to your reference management tool. You can link or save full texts as attachments to references, as well as make your own annotations.
You can use reference management tools to create a separate bibliography from the references with a reference style of your choice. You can also use an extension in your text editor to add in-text citations and a bibliography based on them into your paper, e.g. in Microsoft Word.
Basic functions of various reference management tools are largely similar. During your studies or career, you can always switch to another tool of your choice or need - once you have learned to use one, you know more or less what to expect from other reference management tools.
The saved references can be transferred from one reference management tool to another, however, any attached full-texts are usually not transferable. Nevertheless, using a reference management tool will help you to keep your references for your thesis or article under control, as all references are stored in one place.
|How to start using program||You do not necessarily need an account, if you only use one computer and you do not need to share references anywhere. There is also a web version, but it does not always work as well as the desktop version.||Create an account online. Download the desktop version to your computer from the web. There is also a web version.||Create an account online. Download the desktop version to your computer from the web. There is also a web version.|
|Price||The basic version is free for everyone. Additional storage is subject to a fee.||The basic version is free for everyone. Additional storage and features are subject to a fee.||The basic version is free for everyone.|
|Space for savings in free version||300 MB||2 GB||2 GB|
|Can you continue using the tool, in case you leave Turku UAS?||Yes, but not with Turku UAS email address anymore.||Yes, but not with Turku UAS email address anymore.||Yes, but not with Turku UAS email address anymore.|
|Works at least with these text processing programs||Word, LibreOffice, Google Docs||Word, also Word Online||Word|
|Citation styles in use||10 000||7000||21|
|How to edit citation styles||You can use CSL editor.||You can use CSL editor.||Editing is not possible.|
|How to get citation styles in different languages||By editing styles. In addition, the language of some styles can be selected when creating the bibliography.||By editing styles. In addition, the language of the styles can be selected when creating the bibliography.||Editing is not possible.|
|Overall pros||Simple and easy to learn. Open source. Not owned by a commercial publisher. Better privacy than Mendeley, as Zotero does not collect data from reference data imported into Zotero.
Active Zotero Forum where you can ask for advice. Lots of add-ons and instructions made by the user community.
|Simple and easy to learn.
|Easy to set up.|
|Data protection||Please note that your personal data is transferred as a registered user.||Please note that your personal data is transferred as a registered user.||Please note that your personal data is transferred as a registered user.|
The most up-to-date information on the features of different programs and their versions can always be found on the website of the service provider.
This guide is an introduction to the following free reference management tools:
The guide has been produced by the Turku UAS Library to support the use of free reference management tools. It includes links to instructions in other sources. There are a lot of instructional videos and guides available online for various reference management tools. The Turku UAS Library does not offer guidance on the use of reference management tools.
The guide is based on the Helsinki University Library's guide to Reference Management:
Turku University of Applied Sciences does not have a paid subscription to any of the reference management tools, but you can use the free tools at your own risk.
Please note that reference management tools and their add-ons may collect your personal information, especially if you need to register and create an account to use them. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not cover services working outside the EU/EEA.