What is a Citation Manager?

This tutorial is an introduction to citation managers. Citation managers are software that help you collect, organize, share, and cite sources that you find. You can add all types of sources to a citation manager, like articles, books, interviews, videos, and more. Many citation managers offer plugins or extensions so you can quickly add sources from library databases, catalogs, and websites from within a browser. Once you have sources added, you can then organize them within the citation manager using tags, lists, and folders. Then, with the click of a button, you can add those sources as citations within your paper, and at the end of your paper, generate a reference list automatically!

Organizing Your Research

  • The citation managers that UW-Madison Libraries support are:
  • A citation manager allows you to:
    • Add sources and citation information such as the author, title, and date it was published
    • Share sources and collaborate with classmates and colleagues
    • Easily switch your citations from one style to another
  • Once you add a source to a citation manager, you can:
    • Link to the original article
    • Save and take notes in PDFs
    • Organize your sources using folders, lists, and tags
    • Create reference lists in papers automatically

The UW-Madison Libraries provide support for several citation managers, helping undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers set up and customize these tools to make the work of keeping track of sources easier. To learn more and decide which citation manager is best for you, check out the Citation Manager Comparison Chart, attend an upcoming workshop, or schedule an appointment with a consultant. We look forward to helping you get more organized and less stressed about citations!

Video Version of Tutorial

What is a Citation Manager?