I won’t lie. I am 21 years old, a college senior, and have never used a reference manager. I’m definitely more of an EasyBib or BibMe type of girl and all these years they’ve been doing a pretty damn good job.

What can I say? I’m loyal.

But, there comes a day when your needs change and you have to grow up, be an adult, and upgrade to a real reference manager. Something like EndNote, Zotero or Mendeley. Programs like these help to format, build and organize your citations during research in one streamlined and cohesive space. Ultimately, they’re here to help you out and to make the entire research process that much easier.

Benefits of Using Citation Management Tools by Western Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

So, how do you choose which one to use? Well, you honestly can’t go wrong with any of them. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a reference manager.

Things like:

  • Cost
  • Learning curve
  • Individual or group collaborative features
  • Simplicity/ease

Enter EndNote. This program produced by Thomas Reuters, is one of the many commercial reference management softwares designed to help manage your citations while writing one of those never ending research papers.

Screenshot by Morgan Yi

After downloading EndNote Basic Web from their website I took some time to fool around with the program. Look at that user interface! Everything is laid out for you and with some practice it’s SO simple to use.

The Good

Here are some of the key features I think are worth noting:

  • Search — EndNote allows you to search many different online databases in order to collect references and add them to your EndNote library.
  • Create — Can’t find a reference or source online? Don’t sweat it. EndNote lets you manually input information to create a citation or import a reference from a different database or website.
  • Organize — Take a load off and let EndNote do the work for you. EndNote helps you organize your citations and references by grouping them in any way you want. You can have multiple groups, share them with others, and even export citations to other programs. Collaboration has never been such a breeze.
  • Cite While You Write™ — Now this function is almost too good to be true. It’s exactly what the title suggests. Cite while you write™. Need I say more?
  • Annotate — Highlight and make notes on PDFs. You can even search within PDFs!
  • The sky is the limit — EndNote can handle lots and lots and lots of references. So, go crazy and cite it up!
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The Bad

As helpful as EndNote is, it still has its flaws. Like the fact that it’s not free.

Dun, dun, dun.

EndNote varies depending on what access you choose to buy. Obviously, the more $$$ the more you get. The price ranges from $100-$200, which isn’t terrible — but for college students. Ah, sorry no. A girl has got to eat and buy textbooks and other college things. You know?

Otherwise, it takes a little bit of time to fully understand all of its functions. Thankfully there are some helpful tutorial videos out there if you need a little help. God Bless the Internet.


In comparison to other citation managers on the market, I would have to say it’s up there. It’s biggest downside is that unlike others like, Zotero and Mendeley, you have to throw some money to get full access. But, if you’re looking for a solid and reliable reference manager then EndNote is for you!

10/10 would recommend to a friend.

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