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Citing Sources: Citation Managers & Generators

Why use citation management software

Why Use Citation Management Software

Citation management software allows you to

  • store citations
  • export directly from Library Search and any databases
  • enter citations manually
  • organize citations in folders
  • edit and modify citations
  • add personal notes to citations
  • store .pdf copies of articles
  • link directly to the sources
  • easily create bibliographies in a variety of styles 



Zotero is a free, open-source research management tool with a  Firefox add on.

  • Free
  • Web-based version
  • Enhanced features with Firefox plug-in. 
  • Desktop version 
  • Manage citations
  • Easy to collaborate
  • There are known issues with the desktop version of Zotero when trying to import/export citation files (RIS) from Library Search.


Mendeley   is a free reference manager, academic collaboration network and crowdsourced database. Mendeley Desktop is available on Mac, Windows and Linux. Mendeley Web functions on all major browsers. Mobile versions of Mendeley are available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

  • Free
  • Web-based and desktop version 
  • Robust reference manager 
  • Academic social network for easy collaboration 
  • Cite-O-Matic (MS Word plugin)
  • Easily import citations from WMU Library Search
  • Easily import citations from WMU Databases
  • Uses RIS format
  • Visit the WMU Mendeley User Guide for more information

Citation Generators

For smaller projects, you may just need to correct formatting for a citation.  A citation generator can help with the correct formatting of citations in well known basic styles and allow references to be copied and pasted into a bibliography.

  • BibMe is a free citation generator developed at Carnegie Mellon University that produces citations and bibliographies in APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian styles. 

  • Citation Machine is a free Web site that provides software allowing you to create MLA or APA citations for books, journal articles, and a variety of other references. You provide details about titles, author, publisher or journal name, volume, and page numbers. The site then provides a formatted citation for use in your reference lists. You should double-check the citations the system generates since it occasionally makes a mistake.

  • Knight Cite is an online citation generator service provided by the Hekman Library of Calvin College.

  • Quick Citation Formatting in Databases. Many databases allow you to format citations into various writing styles. When available, look for the wording “cite” or “cite now,” or see if it is an option after clicking on “save, print, email.”