Compare EndNote, F1000 Workspace, Mendeley, Zotero: At a Glance

Comparing reference managers

HSL Online Guides Endnote Mendeley Zotero F1000Workspace
Classes at HSL See here 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

How to Choose: Compare Features

EndNote, F1000 Workspace, Mendeley, and Zotero 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?

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

Also, see the PDF of a poster that compares features of these four programs as applied to four use cases.

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How to Choose: Balance Your Priorities

Basically, think about your needs and decide on your priorities. Possible priorities:

  • Cost: There is no cost to start using EndNote Basic, F1000 Workspace, Mendeley, or Zotero.
  • Working without internet access: You can use the references stored in EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero without being connected to the Internet.
  • Storing PDFs: EndNote, F1000 Workspace, Mendeley, or Zotero 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 F1000 Workspace, Mendeley, and Zotero.
  • Systematic Reviews: HSL librarians prefer EndNote or F1000 Workspace for systematic reviews. Both allow ingestion of large result files from multiple databases and  provide deduplication options.

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

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