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Research Guides


A Comparison of Citation Management Tools

EndNote RefWorks Zotero

Available for free* for  TAMU-College Station students, staff, and faculty.  Desktop downloadable version available through Texas A&M Software Center

*EndNote is not free, but TAMU licenses for use by the listed groups.

Available for free* for TAMU with TAMU NetID and password via

*RefWorks is not free, but TAMU licenses for use by the listed groups.

Free up to 300 MB / $20 for 2 GB / $60 for 6 GB
Access Downloadable software and web-based application Web-based Downloadable software and web-based application
Access after leaving A&M Yes: current downloaded version only, no upgrades Yes Yes
Organize PDFs & other documents Yes Yes Yes
Annotate / highlight PDFs Yes Yes Yes
Tagging Yes Yes Yes
Full-text searching across PDFs Yes Yes Yes
Sharing documents Yes Yes (also offers creating public URL) Yes
Mobile App Yes: iPhone and iPad only No Yes, via third parties
Browser Add-in Yes Yes Yes

Comparison created by Texas A&M University librarians Paria Tajallipour, Sarah Bankston, Carolyn Jackson, and Stephen Bales, drawing on the example provided by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Comparison of Features: Student Testing

In Spring 2014, students  in Professor Maura Ives's  graduate research methods course, English 603: Bibliography and Research, tested Zotero alongside RefWorks. They reported the following advantages:


  • Is an open source, freely-available product that does not require a subscription
  • Is easy to install and fairly intuitive to use
  • Allows users to easily collapse and expand entries in their Zotero libraries
  • Provides easy ways to organize entries in Zotero libraries: students appreciated the drag-and-drop functionality
  • Integrates well with RefWorks -- straightforward to move references from RefWorks into Zotero
  • Provides a useful search bar
  • Has a sync feature that allowed references to be stored and exchanged between devices
  • Has tagging features with many potential applications, easier to access on Zotero than RefWorks
  • Lets you add print resources using the ISBN
  • Lets you pull citation information from any webpage or database (tip from students: "Make sure you have Zotero open and that you've clicked on the folder you want the item to end up in when you save the citation data in the browser")
  • Students were more critical of Zotero's: 
  • Somewhat clunky integration with Microsoft Word. They had trouble generating a bibliographic citation and transforming in-text citations into works cited lists in Microsoft Word, using the Zotero plugin for Word.
  • Failure to accurately automatically assign periodical type (students recommend always double checking the "item type" generated when a reference is stored)
  • Integration in Chrome-- Firefox integration seems more stable
  • Structure for storing references in folders and subfolders are tricky: items in subfolder are not shown in larger folder

Special thanks to Maura Ives, Bruce Herbert, and Texas A&M University graduate students Karen Davis, Wendy Bustamante, Alex Haitos, Mary Ross, and Jeffrey Utzinger for their feedback on Zotero.


Moving Reference between Zotero and EndNote

PDFs and other attachments do not export between programs, however; only citation information.

Zotero to EndNote

To save your Zotero library for importing into EndNote, click the Zotero button that looks like a gear and choose "Export Library." Choose RIS as the file type and pick a filename.

In EndNote, click "File" and then "Import." Click the "Choose File" button and select the file you just exported from Zotero. Set Import Option to "Reference Manager (RIS)" and click Import.

EndNote to Zotero


To export your EndNote library for use in Zotero, click "File" and then "Export." Set the output style to "RefMan (RIS) Export" and save it as a text file.

In Zotero, click the button that looks like a gear and choose "Import." Just double-click the file you exported from EndNote. The new references will be added to a collection named "Imported" followed by the date and time.

[The content of this LibGuide section was taken from a CC BY-NC 3.0 licensed LibGuide by Jason Puckett of Georgia State University Library]