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Citation Manager: What is a Citation Manager?

This guide explains what a citation manager is, when to use one, and considerations for selecting software. The guide includes a comparison chart, and how-to tutorials and resources.

What is a citation manager?

A citation manager is also called a reference manager and bibliographic manager.

It is a citation database that you build – create lists of articles, books, reports, videos, webpages, etc.

  • Software specially designed for students, scholars, and writers.
  • Formats and generates bibliographies (reference lists) using the citation style you specify.
  • Store, search and organize your research. Add notes, links, PDFs and other file types.

When should I use a citation manager?

Use a citation manager when you are writing a research paper with more than 15-20 references.

Use a citation manager when you want to keep your research in a subject area well organized and easily accessible - archived or ongoing. 


Why use a citation manager?

Streamline the process of creating accurate citations and references.

Locate all your research in one convenient location.

Easily export citations from many of the library databases.

Create reference lists in a 'click.'


What are my options?

There are many options for citation management software. Click the tab Compare Citation Managers to learn more.This guide provides information on three popular citation managers.

What are the benefits of using citation management tools?

Produced by Western University

Need help with APA Style?

How do I format my paper? How do I create in-text citations and a reference list?

APA Citation Guide

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