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Choosing a Citation Manager: Home

This guide will outline how to switch to a new citation manager like Endnote, Zotero, or Mendeley

Created by Health Science Librarians


We at the Health Sciences Library encourage all our students to use citation managers to help them store citations, keep notes, and insert properly formatted citations and bibliographies into their papers. Whether you use Sciwheel, Endnote, or Zotero, citation managers can make the research and writing process easier.

Each citation manager has its strengths and weaknesses. If you need help picking a citation manager, then please consult the table below which provides an overview of each citation manager.

The time may come when you feel that another manager will better suit your needs. This guide will also outline the steps that you need to go through in order to switch from one citation manager to another.

Comparing reference managers

Zotero Sciwheel (formerly F1000Workspace)
HSL Online Guides EndNote Zotero Sciwheel (formerly F1000Workspace)
Classes at HSL EndNote Classes   Sciwheel Classes
Cost $108 for students, faculty, & staff through UNC-CH
Zotero is free Free through UNC-CH
Notes See EndNote Basic guide for further details on the free online version   Use this link to create account.  Select No, I'm a new user then select password.
How is it used? Computer
+ Web
+ Web
Major citation styles?
Annotation of PDFs
Locate full-text using UNC-CH subscriptions
Instructions for EndNote

Instructions for Zotero

Instructions for Sciwheel
Adds citation from a PDF
Sharing options X7 and above users have sharing options / email compressed libraries See group options here
Share unlimited projects and manuscripts
Free online storage EN21- three year access to EndNote Web with unlimited storage 700+ papers
(more space can be purchased)
Word Processor Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word
Google Docs
LibreOffice (all)

Microsoft Word
Google Docs
Manuscripts for Mac

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, Sciwheel, or Zotero.
  • Working without internet access: You can use the references stored in EndNote, or Zotero without being connected to the Internet. This feature is coming soon from Sciwheel.
  • Storing PDFs: EndNote, Sciwheel, 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 Sciwheel and Zotero.
  • Systematic Reviews: HSL librarians prefer EndNote Desktop or Sciwheel for systematic reviews. Both allow ingestion of large result files from multiple databases and provide deduplication options. View our FAQ on which citation managers work best for systematic reviews for more information.

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