Friday, 17 August 2012

Thing 14 – Zotero, Medeley, CiteULike

Organising references is discussed in Thing 14 and 3 tools are mentioned Zotero, Mendeley and CiteULike.

Back in the day, I found it easier to manage my own list as otherwise I was dependent on software only available via the university network. Luckily things have moved on.


We subscribe to Refworks at the university and as long as you have a username and password you can access this on the network and from home. I don’t use it extensively myself - limited to a once a year gathering of local research published. Importing and managing references seems pretty straight forward but the “cite while you right” functionality seems a bit clunky.

Reference Manager

At the NHS trust that I worked for previously we used Reference Manager. We only had a specific number of licences for the networked–based product but it certainly seemed pretty sophisticated and I used it to manage reference lists of our employees published work. The “cite while you right” function also seemed to work more seamlessly.


I have experimented with online referencing tools and the one I chose to use was Connotea. I use this to keep lists of interesting articles that I come across. It saves building up piles of articles on my desk or downloading pdfs onto my 
PC. However I find it very slow and quite error-prone.

Zotero and Mendeley

Both these tools require you to download software, so they may not be practical where you have restrictive networks. And again presumably your account is linked to the PC where you have downloaded the software.


This looks very similar to the Connotea tool that I use in that it stores internet links and bibliographic information.


Not surprisingly the subscription tools offer the most sophisticated functionality. The University here has Refworks available to students and staff and we provide a hands-on training course to users who need more help. Unfortunately our NHS partners don’t subscribe to a reference manager product and they have quite restrictive networks. We try to provide help to these users via a list of suggested possible resources.

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