Citation managers (also called reference managers) are tools you can use to do the following:
If you're looking for help with citing and citations styles, you might find the Citing Your Sources guide helpful.
There are a number of options available to the BU community for free or via our subscriptions to databases. Here are some key points to consider when choosing what will work best for you:
If you want more information, the University of Toronto has created an extensive comparison table with even more options.
*The BU Libraries do not provide licenses for the full version of EndNote. If you are interested in purchasing it, please see this page from BU Information Services and Technology.
Citation managers are ideal platforms for sharing references among members of a research group, students working on a group assignment, or colleagues that have formed a reading circle. You can find instructions for sharing with RefWorks, Zotero, and Mendeley in this guide.
Benefits of Citation Managers for Collaboration...
...and a Few Limitations
With the ability to host documents, facilitate collaboration, and standardize citing, citation managers are useful for instruction. Below are some success stories from higher education instructors who have incorporated citation managers into their curricula.
Andrea Davis, "From Learning to Write to Learning to Cite: Using Zotero in the Classroom" from Perspectives on History (Oct, 2018).
Davis used Zotero as a learning management system for her history course, hosting readings on Zotero. Her students learned how to use the system for their own research and engaged in peer review during the research process.
Chad Iwertz, "Teaching with Zotero: Citation Management for Feedback and Peer Review" from the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory blog (Feb, 2014).
In his freshman composition course, Iwertz uses Zotero's Note feature to get students to provide feedback on sources they've collected in a shared group library. Iwertz was able to monitor the process and add feedback of his own to students' work.
Thomas Kim, "Building Student Proficiency with Scientific Literature Using the Zotero Reference Manager Platform" from Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education volume 39, issue 6, p. 412-415 (2011).
Kim used Zotero in a chemical literature seminar to introduce students to scholarly research and encourage them to attribute sources properly. The bibliography-building functionality helped students build manageable reading lists in an information-rich field.
Tehmina Khwaja and Pamela L. Eddy, "Using Mendeley to Support Collaborative Learning in the Classroom" from Journal of Educational Technology, volume 12, number 2, p. 19-28 (2015).
Khwaja and Eddy used Mendeley as a platform for collaboration and annotation in graduate teacher education courses, facilitating students' research efforts as they collected and evaluated references for a policy-writing assignment.
Amanda Makula and Anne Earel, "Enhancing Pedagogy Through Technology: Using Beyond Question and RefWorks to Engage Students in Information Literacy Across the Curriculum", poster presented at the Association of College & Research Libraries’ 2009 Conference.
Makula and Earel utilized the collaborative capabilities of RefWorks for their information literacy course, allowing students to easily gather their own references and assist in their classmates' research.
While bibliographic managers make citing, storing, and organizing references easy, they are not foolproof. Keep the following things in mind when using them: