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EndNote: Alternative Reference Management Tools

Introduction to Library support for EndNote 20 and EndNote Online.


Currently UCD provides students and staff with access to EndNote X9 and EndNote Online. UCD Library provides training for both versions.

But there are many similar programmes for managing references. Some offer additional features that might be more suitable for your workflow, other programmes might be more popular with your peers. There are programmes that are freely available (at least for a basic version), others charge an annual fee or you can purchase them as a standalone application.

Below are some of the more popular alternatives. We have listed the most prominent features and limitations. For a comprehensive comparison you can visit one of the websites in the Comparisons box.

Unless indicated otherwise all programmes work under Windows and Mac OS. They also allow direct export of references to text editing software such as MS Word or OpenOffice.

Note: We feel that our users should be informed about alternative reference manager programmes. UCD Library does not provide any support for installation, use or other queries.


More in-depth comparisons of reference managers (including some not mentioned in our LibGuide) can be found on the following websites:

Other Programmes

This is just a selection. More can be found listed in a number of comparison tables (see box to the left).


  • Once off price for personal or student use is € 123
  • Extensive knowledge/task/project management features
  • Windows only


  • Annual subscription for single user is US$ 100
  • Web based only, no standalone version


  • Free
  • Many collaboration tools (calendar, groups, profiles)
  • Task manager

EndNote Basic

EndNote basic is a free, basic version of EndNote Online, provided by Thomson Reuters. For a full comparison between the basic and the full version check out the EndNote website.

  • Free
  • Same look and feel as EndNote Online full version, but
  • Limited reference storage (50,000 references vs. Unlimited)
  • Limited attachment storage (2 GB vs. Unlimited)
  • Limited number of bibliographic formatting styles (21 vs. 6,000+)
  • Limited number of searchable online databases (5 vs. 6,000+)
  • Suitable for small projects or to maintain previous collection after graduating from UCD
  • As a Thomson Reuters product EndNote Basic integrates very well with Web of Science


Zotero is a free open-source application for managing references. It was first released in 2006 and is developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

  • Standalone and Web version (can be sync’d) or Firefox extension; no mobile apps, but mobile version
  • 300 MB of free cloud storage, additional storage can be purchased for an annual fee
  • Enables collaboration in public or private groups
  • Allows to add notes independently from any reference
  • Icon in URL allows import of references from databases (Firefox); bookmarklet allows import of references from databases (Safari, Chrome)
  • Allows to save and annotate websites
  • Timeline view
  • Attached PFDs open in external reader


Mendeley is another free application for managing references. It was first released in 2008 and is now part of Elsevier’s product palette. Mendeley is very popular with LaTex users.

  • Desktop and Web version (can be sync’d), iPad and iPhone apps
  • 2 GB of free cloud storage, additional storage can be purchased for a monthly fee
  • Enables collaboration in public or private groups
  • Unless set to Private, a Mendeley library can be seen by other users. Therefore the service is also a discovering tool.
  • Allows users to upload personal profiles, publication list etc.
  • Bookmarklet allows import of references from databases 
  • Integrated PDF reader allows annotations within the programme; capture of quotations
  • Bibliographies must be generated separately and copied to text document
  • Limited number of document types
  • As an Elsevier product Mendeley integrates very well with ScienceDirect