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Turku University Library

Reference Management

How to choose a reference management program

Some things to consider when choosing a reference management program:

  • Is the program compatible with my operating system and word processing package?
  • Do I need remote/online access to my reference collection?
  • Do I need to share my reference sets with others? What tool are they using?
  • Can I transfer my references to another system? Different organisations may use different systems.
  • Where are my references stored, on a local drive / specific computer, or in the 'cloud'?
  • Is the program available on university-owned computers? This is usually not an issue for web-based tools.
  • Which tool do researchers in my discipline tend to use? Does it matter?

Comparison of reference management programs

The programs supported by the Turku University Library are listed in the table below. Please contact the library, if you have problems or need assistance on how to use these programs.

  Mendeley icon


Cost Free. The Mendeley Institutional Edition has not been licensed for the University of Turku. Desktop version of Zotero and basic Zotero account are free. Zotero is open source.
Required software downloads

- Web and desktop based, option to synchronise with web account.

- Direct import from databases requires downloading the Web Importer tool.

- Creation of citations and bibliographies in Word/LibreOffice requires downloading the Citation Plugin (Mendeley Cite-O-Matic).

- Desktop based. Using Zotero on multiple computers requires a Zotero account.

- Direct import from databases possible by installing the Zotero Connector browser extension.

- Creation of citations and bibliographies in Word/LibreOffice requires downloading a plugin. In Google Docs citations can be created by using the Zotero Connector.

Attach PDFs

Annotate PDFs

Share and network with colleagues

- You can join and create private groups for group work (free version has 5 Private Groups per user, up to 25 members).

- Creating groups and sharing files can be done after creating a Zotero account.
Import references

- Direct import from ScienceDirect and Scopus.

- Use Web importer to import from other databases.

- Directly from Mendeley Catalog.

- References can be imported e.g. in RIS format.

- RIS import from several databases.

- Zotero Connector allows importing webpages and other online content.

- ISBN, DOI or PMID can be used to import references from Zotero's own search engine.

Free online storage 2 GB

Zotero account allows unlimited data storage, but full text files (e.g. pdfs) are limited to 300 MB in the free version.

NOTE: There are no data or file storage limits when using Zotero on a single computer, without an account.

Generate citations

- With Mendeley Citation Plug-in.

- A plug-in required for Word/LibreOffice (usually downloads automatically with the Zotero desktop program).

- In Google Docs, citations can be created by using Zotero Connector.

- Third-party plugins for LaTeX, RStudio, InDesign and others.

Citation styles

Nearly 7000 8000+
Modify citation styles

Word processor compatibility Microsoft Word (Windows, Mac), LibreOffice. Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, Google Docs. Third party plugins for other programs.


Other reference management programs

There are heaps of different reference management tools available. You can for example check the comparison table in Wikipedia to find a suitable one for you.

Other well-known alternatives include:

The library can help with RefWorks (institutional license available to all university staff and students), Mendeley, and Zotero. The second two are free to use by everyone. University of Turku has not bought any other subscription-based reference managers (e.g. EndNote), and therefore we are unable to help you with them.