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Reference Manager Softwares: Home


Reference Manager softwares such as Endnote and Zotero, make the work of creating a reference list for your research topic or assignment easier than in the bygone days where we had to note down, type out and adhere to the correct citation style for each subject/discipline.

The software has functions that help you collect, annotate and organise references to the sources of information, annotating bibliographies. Most, if not all software will be able to ingest files containing metadata from databases, library catalogues and selected search engines to your personal 'library', so you can re-use citations in related documents. All softwares integrate with an authoring software such as MS Word, Google Docs and Open Office, which makes them part of your writing workflow.

See box below for the reference manager tools that we support at NUS. There are many other reference manager tools/software in the marketplace; some will charge an annual fee or a one-time fee for maintenance, cloud storage space and enhanced features. Please feel free to explore them but as library budgets are limited, we can only support two softwares actively. 

Bibliographic Management Softwares


 EndNote is a software that:

  1. Stores and organizes references found from many sources
  2. Inserts these references into a MS Word document
  3. Automatically formats your references according to a predefined citation style, and more ...
  4. Secures your research sources as it stays in your local device (if you don't sync to the online version)


If you're new to EndNote, check out our EndNote Library Guide!

Zotero - Collect, Organize, Cite and Share your Research Sources
Zotero is a free bibliographic citation management software that allows you to save, collect, manage, cite, and share research sources. Zotero is available either as a Firefox extension or as standalone software that works with Firefox, Chrome browsers, but not so well in Safari browser (sync is not instant) ... so it's easy to save you citations and capture web pages during the search process.

Use the Zotero word processor plugins to easily cite your sources and create a bibliography in MS Word and Google Docs!

If you are interested to learn how to use Zotero, please visit our Zotero Library Guide!

NUS Libraries video on citing and creating bibliographies using ZoteroBib

ZoteroBib helps you build a bibliography instantly from any computer or device, without having to create an account, install a software or 'build a library'. It's ideal if you're working on ad-hoc assignments that require less than 20 references.

ZoteroBib was created by the team behind Zotero, the powerful citation tool recommended and used by universities around the world, so you can trust it to help you seamlessly produce professional-looking bibliographies.

Go to the ZoteroBib citation manager to:

  1. Add a bibliographic entry using DOI, PMID, ISBN, arXiv ID, or a URLs from Google Books and Amazon
  2. Rename the Bibliography Title (heaing) if needed
  3. Edit the bibliography
  4. Change to the desired citation style
  5. Copy the formatted references into your word processor with 1 click of a button
  6. Export your bibliography
  7. Automatically saves your bibliography
  8. Create  a link that you can share with someone else.


There are two version of Mendeley running concurrently since the release of a new version in 2019. Elsevier, who owns Mendeley, intend Mendeley Reference Manager (the NEW) to replace Mendeley Desktop (the old) although there is no specific date given yet [as of Nov 2021]. The two versions are NOT compatible at this point.

NUS has an institutional version of Mendeley Desktop until 2022, which means NUS users get unlimited cloud storage and can collaborate with more people. Hence, our LibGuide is only focused on how to use Mendeley Desktop.

The distinction from other software is that Mendeley is made for social networking. You can follow other researchers and create a network of people doing similar research within the software.

What's more, you are able to discover the articles and journals that are being read in your field right now and add them to your own Mendeley library.

Click here to learn more about Mendeley!

Comparing the softwares

There are many reference manager softwares in the marketplace and each have their strengths and weaknesses, and it all depends on what your needs are.  Even if academic libraries had unlimited budget, we are unable to support all the software requests, so we tend to prioritise the free to use softwares, and those with good solid documentation and sustainable self-help forums.

If you need a quick comparison, please see this concise comparison table compiled by the wonderful librarians at the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University: