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Reference Management Software

This Libguide helps you get started with using reference management software.


This guide helps you getting started with using reference management software. With the help of a reference management software you can:

  • store and organise all your references from different databases in your personal online reference library
  • add references in your text, with the help of different plug-ins
  • create automatic reference lists according to different citation styles, such as Harvard or APA
  • share references with others
  • read and comment PDF-files
  • save articles as PDF-files so you can access them from any device you are using


Some reference management softwares needs to be purchased, while some are free of charge. This guide focuses on: 

  • Mendeley (free of charge, there is also an extended version available which you need to pay for. This Libguide focuses on the free version)
  • Zotero (free of charge)

Comparison of Reference Management Softwares

There are many different types of reference management software, and which one to choose depends on the needs you have. Below you find a comparison between Mendeley and Zotero.


mendeley logo


zotero logo

Free of charge  (up to 2 GB)  (up to 300 MB)
Online version    
Downloadable version
Can be used without valid Hanken-ID
Open source  (a product from Elsevier)
PDF-files can be saved  (can be a hassle with getting all the reference details imported from the PDF-files)
Annotate and comment saved PDF-files
Tag references with keywords and sort references in folders
Save web content  (use Mendeley Web Importer)  (use Zotero connector)
Android *
Share documents and collaborate with others (limited amount of groups in the free version)
Microsoft Word  (use Mendeley Cite-o-matic/Mendeley Cite)
Google Docs
Edit citation styles
Referencing using the Oxford system

*Zotero for Mobile

Choosing the right Reference Management Software

Before getting started using a reference management software, it is good to think through what your expectations and needs are:

  • Does the software work with your computer and your operating system?
  • Does the software work with your word processor? 
  • Does the software support the referencing style you want to use?
  • Do you need to collaborate with others? What tools are your colleagues using?
  • Will you need a reference management software also after you have graduated from Hanken? In that case, do not use a software demanding  an institutional log in with Hanken-ID)
  • Do you prefer a free software or are you willing to pay for the access?
  • How can you get support in case you have questions? Does your university offer support in using the tool?

This comparison can help you choose the right software: