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Citations

This guide includes tips and tools for citing in MLA, APA, Chicago and other citation styles.

Citation Tools

There are numerous citation tools available online, either as web-based citation generators, or as citation management software.  These 2 types of programs perform very different roles in creating and managing citations.

Citations Generators rely on user input to create citations.  For each source, you will be prompted to enter the author name, journal/issue numbers, etc.  For this reason, errors can occur and proofreading of each entry is essential. Popular citation generators include:

  • KnightCite from the Hekman Library of Calvin College
  • EasyBib, a commericial product that offers citation and works cited page generation. Note: only the MLA style is free--all other styles require the fee-based EasyBib Premium.
  • Citation Machine, which generates citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.  Note: this site contains a lot of ads.

Citation Management Software create, organize, store, retrieve citations, and correctly format bibliographies by interfacing with database and website data.  Some products are fee based, but there are several free citation management systems available.  If you are thinking about using this type of tool, take a look at the comparison chart on this page.  Although we do not subscribe to a fee-based service, the librarians at Sojourner Truth Library recommend Zotero, which is a free program that can be downloaded to your PC.  The video below will help you get started and librarians are always available to help you.

Getting Started with Zotero

Which Citation Manager Should I Use?

This chart, created and shared by Audrey B. Welber at Princeton University, compares Endnote, Zotero, Refworks, and Mendeley in terms of a few basic user needs.

It's important that I be able to:
Suggested bibliographic manager
Explanation
not pay any money for it and use after I graduate

Zotero, Mendeley

Zotero and Mendeley are freely available, but upgrades in storage space and other premium features are not free.

easily import citations from library catalogs/databases

Zotero, Refworks, Endnote

They are all designed to perform this task, with Zotero being the most seamless, followed by Refworks and Endnote.
deploy citations into my Word document, as footnotes or in-text citations, while automatically generating a bibliography at the end.

Endnote, Refworks, Zotero, Mendeley

They are all designed to perform this task, with Endnote and Refworks being the most seamless, followed by Zotero. Mendeley can do this but isn't as full-featured as the others for this task.
be "portable," i.e., work on multiple computers from anywhere

RefWorks (Zotero and Mendeley to a lesser extent)

RefWorks is web-based so you can collect and access your resources using any computer with an Internet connection, from anywhere in the world.

Zotero (PC/Mac/Linux) allows you the flexibility to sync your references across multiple computers as well as access your references online (in the cloud) by logging into your Zotero account at zotero.org. (Zotero provides some free storage but additional space must be purchased.)

Mendeley Desktop can be downloaded onto as many computers as you want and has full support for PC/Mac/Linux operating systems. Data synced on the desktop client is automatically backed up to the cloud. (Mendeley provides some free storage but additional space must be purchased.)

be able to quickly capture citations for and save copies of freely available webpages (as opposed to library databases) Zotero, Refworks Zotero's translators make saving web-based content to your Zotero library very easy. Zotero takes a snapshot of the website as it appears the moment you save it to your library. You can also add annotations to snapshots. Refworks also has RefGrabit, which functions similarly.
organize and annotate a large number of PDF files that I already have saved on mycomputer Mendeley

Mendeley is designed so that you can easily organize, index, and annotate pdfs. (Mendeley also has a citation feature, which interacts with MS Word, but is much less robust than the other products.)

generate a "standalone" bibliography quickly for an assignment Zotero, Mendeley

Using Zotero's Quick Copy function, you can drag and drop a citation from your Zotero library into any text field (word processing document, Google doc, email, blog post, etc.) in order to instantly generate a works cited or bibliography. Refworks and Endnote also do this but involve a few more steps.

learn the program quickly and use for a paper <200 pages. Refworks, Zotero

Refworks and Zotero are easier to learn than Endnote, which is more robust and ideal for book length projects.

work offline when I do not have acess to the Internet Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote all save your references and citations locally on your computer and can be accessed offline. Zotero stores your library in your Firefox profile.
work collaboratively with others Zotero,
Mendeley, RefWorks, EndNote

RefShare by RefWorks allows researchers and scholars the ability to collaborate across institutions.

Use Zotero Groups to easily share your resources with others either privately or publicly. 

Mendeley offers group functionality as well: open, invite-only, or private group members can share papers and notes.

 

EndNote Web offers a Groups function to share references with other EndNote Web users.