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PGR Library services & resources for Researchers: Managing Information

Why use a Referencing Tool?

There are a variety of referencing tools widely available to help you with your references and notes, but choosing and learning to use one does take a little effort on the researcher's part. So what are the benefits? Most tools will allow you to:

  • Safely store your references
  • Allow access to your data on different devices
  • Display references in a variety of different styles or allow you to add a style manually
  • Provide 'Cite while you Write' functionality when writing manuscripts
  • Automate a references list/bibliography for you

However, there are also additional features within these softwares, such as:

  • Store and annotate PDF files
  • Collaborate with other researchers
  • Import references from databases
  • Capture reference information from webpages
  • Save and store references in groups
  • Find references from within the programme
  • Social research component
The University of Plymouth pays for a license for Endnote (Desktop version) which is available on all university machines and supported by training and advice from your Information Specialist. Further information on this and other free tools you may choose to use can be found below.

Referencing Tool Comparison

  Endnote Desktop (X8) Endnote Online Mendeley Zotero
Cost Free on university/staff machines
Otherwise £98.40 inc. VAT discounted license direct from Bilaney Consultants (university sign in required)
Free Free Free

Robust and powerful organisation of large number of references.

Ability to form 'smart groups'

'Find Full Text' within the software

Confidential- stores on a hard drive so confidentiality can be managed if required

Import references

Sync to Endnote Desktop version if necessary

Sign in via UoP enables larger storage

Web capture tool

Automatic input of information from PDFs

Substantial annotation/ note taking tools

Free desktop version available

Social Networking for researchers

Simple to use Open Source Software


Number of
Referencing Styles
6000+ 3500+ 8000+ 8000+
PDF annotation available Yes No Yes No
Support available via
Information Specialist
Yes Yes No No
Off Campus Yes on a university machine OR sync to Endnote Online account Yes Yes Yes
Collaboration with other
Ability to share references and libraries with other researchers as long as they use Endnote 7.2 upwards Yes (limited to 14 Endnote Online users) Yes (limit of 25 Mendeley users) Yes
OS and Apps Windows, Mac, iPad app Online tool Online tool Online tool


Links to EndNote Guidance

As shown in the table to the left, the Information Specialist team supports and provides training for 2 versions of Endnote.

If you will want to use Endnote from home, please follow the link below to the Endnote Online libguide.

endnote online

If you will be accessing Endnote from a university laptop or PC, please follow the link below to the Endnote X8 libguide.

endnote x8


For more information, please contact your Information Specialist

Alternative Referencing Tools

We can only provide support at this time for Endnote, but you may wish to investigate alternative referencing tools. You can find a range of tutorials online for the various tools available, but we have collected a few below as a starting point.

Mendeley Desktop Guide
(Web Guide can also be found via this link)

Mendeley Guide Link


Zotero Guide

Zotero Guidance