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Free Citation Management Software: Home

What options are available and why would I want to use a free program?

Frontier gives you the opportunity to create a RefWorks account but there are also several free-to-use citation management programs available. Each program has their unique advantages and it is sometimes helpful to duplicate your citation libraries to one of the free options to try out their different features. The free programs do have their limitations, such as storage caps, but for students and small-to-medium scale research, they can be quite useful. In this info guide, we will explore two of the most common free programs: Mendeley and Zotero.  Tip: No citation management software will produce perfect results but they are useful tools to help lighten your workload. All in-text citations and references will still need to be proofread and compared to the APA Manual, 7th edition, for accuracy.



  • Zotero is an open-source citation management system that combines a web-based interface, desktop client, a citation plug-in, and a browser extension for importing web references. With the free account, you get up to 300MB of storage. 
  • To get started, create a free account.
  • Download the desktop client.
  • Consider installing the Zotero connector extension to your browser to capture web references. There is an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
  • For a quick citation, you can also try Zoterobib. You can search by URL, ISBN (for books only), PMID, DOI, or title. 
  • Similar to Mendeley, you can do a direct export to Zotero from Ebsco databases if you have the Zotero connector browser extension installed or you can export as an RIS file and them upload them to Zotero.