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Citation Management Tools

Citing sources can be a confusing and overwhelming task when you are doing research. Luckily, there are several citation generators that will make your life a lot easier. In this blog post we will discuss both free and subscription citation generators and common errors to look out for.

If you Google "free citation generator",you will get back thousands of results. There are a lot out there and it can be hard to determine which ones are the best. The University Libraries has put together a LibGuide that lists approved free citation generators. We'll discuss a couple of them in this blog post.

BibMe can help you cite in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian formatting. Created by Carnegie Mellon University, BibMe has an auto fill feature and also allows you to switch between citation styles.

Mendeley is another free citation generator. This program not only automatically generates bibliographies, but it is also part of an academic social network. Mendeley gives users the opportunity to collaborate online with other researchers and allows you to sync your Mendeley library to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. This app is free to download and it is possible to read your papers offline.

NoodleTools Expressallows you to generate one or two quick citations in MLA, APA, or Chicago for free. In this free version, citations cannot be saved or exported to a word processor.

is highly recommended by the University Libraries. This is a free and open source program. Developed by George Mason University, users can collect content, organize research into collections, cite sources, sync data across multiple devices, and collaborate with other researchers.

Subscription citation generators are another option. EasyBib has a free bibliography citation maker for MLA but for more styles you must subscribe. EasyBib is $19.99 a year. Users can cite and format in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian styles, import citations from third party databases, and much more. Like NoodleBib, users can save bibliographies online or in Word. EasyBib also has an iPhone app that allows you to scan a book barcode or type in the title and generate a citation.

EndNote is a popular tool for managing bibliographies and it is available at the University Libraries. Users can store and manage bibliographic data as well as create bibliographies. For step-by-step instruction on how to use EndNote, please visit our LibGuide.

Citation generators are useful and time-saving tools. However, it is still your responsibility to make sure your bibliographic data is cited correctly. Errors can occur with citation generators and there are common mistakes that you should look out for:

  • Make sure everything is capitalized correctly by checking the appropriate citation guide.

  • With programs that automatically input bibliographic data such as Zotero, make sure the data being imported matches the style guide. If not, you will need to change the citation to reflect the style you are using.

  • Make sure to check the provided citations in databases such as EBSCO, Proquest, CSA, and Scopus. These databases generate citations as if the full text of the article was accessed. However, this is not always the case.

There are a lot of good choices when it comes to citation generators. Try some and see what works the best for you! Just remember to check your citations against the appropriate style guide. If you have any further questions about citation generators, please stop by the reference desk, call us at 442-3691, email us [], or IM or text us.

Blog post created by Kathryn Farrell