At present A&M has a site license for EndNote and for RefWorks . Some of the benefits of RefWorks are:
- probably easier to learn; the screen is a bit more intuitive, the labeling is easier to understand
- if you get a RefWorks account while a student here at A&M, your account continues as long as A&M has the RefWorks site license
- RefWorks has sub-folders (for better levels of organization of references); about 15 definable custom fields (for example, you could add fields for methodology used, population studied, and so on); and in the screen for typing a reference--when you have not located the reference in a database yet--it can search for the reference when you input the title
- if you attach PDFs to references, those PDFs can be viewed, highlighted, and annotated in the RefWorks screen
- you can transfer your references between EndNote and RefWorks
- Transferring references from RefWorks to EndNote
- Transferring references from EndNote to RefWorks
Zotero is an open source citation system that is more centered on Firefox (but is not limited to Firefox). Some of its benefits are:
- since Zotero is open source and community supported, one consequence is that when errors in a citation style are discovered and resolved, the entire community benefits from the edit
- Zotero allows sub-groups for better organization of references
- there are independently-created add-on tools such as one tool that can extract all annotations from PDFs into a text file
- you can color code tag references. I think I have seen these tags appear in the one line listing of Zotero references
- you can assign "related to" articles, so, you could say "this given article is related to article A, B, and C"
Mendeley is a citation system that was created by an independent newly formed company and then a few years later sold to Elsevier. I've been using Mendeley since 2016 to collect research articles and to read them and I like it. Some Mendeley guides are available from University of Washington in St. Louis and from Michigan State University . I have not used the citation function much, so I do not know how well it cites. Some of its benefits are:
- the web client and the desktop client both seem much alike and both are good
- the desktop client is somewhat better for reading PDFs, in particular since it allows viewing the PDF while also being able to see and edit the reference data.
- some of the differences between Mendeley and EndNote are incremental, not necessarily vastly different, however, they make reading a little more pleasant in Mendeley
- one difference is the two line listing of references showing the entire title--unlike EndNote where the title is displayed within a specified space as part of the one-line listing
- Mendeley has the neat feature that it will suggest related articles based on the articles in your Mendeley library. You can get suggestions from your account on the Mendeley site or in Mendeley desktop
- your Mendeley online account will also show article recommendations based on what articles you have most recently read in Mendeley
- both Mendeley desktop and online have a tabbed Details and Notes area. Details are the reference data fields and Notes are your notes. Mendeley desktop lets the Details and Notes panel stay visible while reading a PDF and also shows any comments you have added in a PDF as part of the Notes, so if you wrote a note and added three comments, the note and the three comments appear in the Desktop Notes display.
- the Mendeley site has a search function that will find references that others have added to their Mendeley libraries. I think that these references have been updated through Elsevier's Scopus database.
- you can follow other researchers
- your account has a personal screen and you can indicate your own publications
- you can participate in groups, though private groups are very limited in the free version of Mendeley
- you can transfer references between Mendeley, EndNote, RefWorks, and Zotero.