Introducing reference management tools

In this post we will explore the reference management tools supported by University of Manchester Library

Specialist Library Support
Specialist Library Support
3 min readMar 22, 2021


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Referencing is a way of acknowledging the sources that you have referred to in your work, it is an essential part of your assignments. In this resource we will explore how using a reference management tool can help you.

If you’re not sure what referencing is, you might want to take a look at our online resource ‘Getting started with referencing’ before you go any further.

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Reference management tools

Reference management tools allow you to keep track of the things you have read or want to read; organise those things in a way you can find them when you need them; and allow you to generate citations and bibliographies in your written work, making referencing a little easier.

Some tools are based entirely online and accessed through your browser. Others are desktop applications that you can download, install and use offline. Some use a mix of online and desktop application. You can even find tools that have Android and or iOS apps.

Many tools work with Microsoft Word while you will find other tools which are compatible with other word processing applications.

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Supported referencing tools

The Library supports users of a number of reference management tools:

EndNote Desktop

EndNote is a desktop application that can be downloaded to personal devices from the University Electronic Software Delivery System, see our post ‘How do I get a copy of EndNote Desktop as a University member?’ to find out more. The University of Manchester subscribes the full version of EndNote and provides training and support.

EndNote Online

EndNote Online is a browser-based tool which can connect with EndNote or be used as a standalone application. Registering via Web of Science gives you enhanced features as a member of the University of Manchester.


Mendeley is a free tool which features both online and desktop applications which are used in-sync. Although the University does not subscribe to the paid-for product we do support users. You can sign up to a free Mendeley account on the Mendeley website.

Tip: You can find a link to our support for each of these tools at the end of this post.

Other reference management tools

There are many other tools out there which you might already be using or which might be a better choice for you. While we’ll do our best to support your use of these tools, our ability to do so can be limited by our experience and access to the tools or related software.

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Choosing the right tool for you

Choosing the right reference management tool for you means asking yourself a few questions about how, when and where you work and the technology you work with.

To help you we have created this podcast and transcript to help you make a decision:

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In this post we looked at different reference management tools you supported by University of Manchester Library. If you still unsure about referencing why not take a look at our other resources linked in the further support section below.

If you have a specific referencing question take a look at our webpages for details of our regular referencing drop-ins which you can book onto to speak to a member of the team.

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Specialist Library Support
Specialist Library Support

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