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Compare EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, F1000 Workspace:

Comparison of reference management software features.

How to Choose: Identify Your Needs and Priorities

EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero and F1000 Workspace are tools that serve the same purpose. They all allow you to create a database of references that you can use to keep track of your reading and to create references when you write. So how do you choose which one to use?

Think about your needs and decide on your priorities.

Possible priorities:

  • Cost: There is no cost to start using Mendeley, Zotero or F1000 Workspace.
  • Working without internet access: You can use the references stored in EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero without being connected to the Internet.
  • Storing PDFs: All four programs allow you to integrate downloaded PDFs with your reference database. EndNote will search for available full-text when you are on campus and this is a very quick way to download and organize the full-text of multiple recent references.
  • Working with a team: If you are joining an established team that has already chosen a particular reference management tool, it is a good idea to learn to use that tool. If you are just forming a team look at the sharing features in Mendeley, Zotero and F1000 Workspace.
  • Systematic Reviews: EndNote and RefWorks allow ingestion of large result files from multiple databases and  provide various deduplication options. Create a separate EndNote library or RefWorks account for a systematic review project. Note that UNC-CH access to RefWorks will end after August 2017 so if you use it for deduplication make sure to export the results.

Remember that you may move your references between programs, so if you don't like one program you can always switch.

See the chart below for a detailed comparison of EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero and F1000 Workspace features.

Comparing reference managers

HSL Online Guides Endnote Mendeley Zotero F1000Workspace
Classes at HSL See here See here  
Cost Full: Under $100 through UNC-CH
Basic: free via Web

Free to everyone
UNC-CH Add-ons

Free to everyone Free through UNC-CH
How is it used? Full: Your Computer
Basic: Web
Your computer
and the Web
Your computer
and the Web
Major citation styles?
Annotation of PDFs
Locate full-text using UNC-CH subscriptions


Adds citation from a PDF
Sharing options X7 users have sharing options / email compressed libraries UNC-CH members have unlimited groups See group options here
Share unlimited projects and manuscripts
Free online storage Unlimited with X7 5,000+ papers
(UNC-CH members have more space)
700+ papers
(more space can be purchased)
Word Processor Microsoft Word Microsoft Word
LibreOffice (latest)
Microsoft Word
LibreOffice (all)
Microsoft Word
Google Docs


RefWorks Logo

Login to RefWorks

UNC Libraries' subscription to RefWorks will end next August (2017)

New users who need access after August 2017 should start with another program.

Current RefWorks users who need access after August 2017 should plan to move their content to another program before that date.

Here is an online guide that will help with this transition:


Need more help? HSL offers classes and consultations on Mendeley and EndNote.