Web-based Citation Management Systems: Which One Is Best?

  • Michael Steeleworthy Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Pauline Theresa Dewan Wilfrid Laurier University
Keywords: citation management systems, RefWorks, Zotero, WizFolio, Mendeley


Librarians and researchers have long used citation management systems as research tools to help scholars organize their work, improve workflows, and ultimately save time. For many years, RefWorks has been the dominant citation management tool in many parts of Canada: the maturity of the product and its integration with many scholarly databases reassures users that it works well with these resources. However, a number of competitors now offer citation management systems that are as strong as RefWorks but offer different features to the user, therefore warranting a comparison with this leading tool. This paper reviews RefWorks, Zotero, WizFolio, and Mendeley, which are all popular citation management systems that either have a long history of use or are now gaining traction in Canadian academic circles. To compare these tools, we examined their import capabilities as well as their organizing, searching, annotating, and sharing functions. This review will interest both librarians and researchers who are considering alternative citation management systems at either the personal or organizational level.

Author Biographies

Michael Steeleworthy, Wilfrid Laurier University
I am the Government Information Librarian for Wilfrid Laurier University
Pauline Theresa Dewan, Wilfrid Laurier University
I am a level 2 liaison librarian reporting to Laurier University Library but working jointly for Laurier and Nipissing at their Brantford campuses. My areas of responsibility include Education, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Arabic, and Mediterranean Studies. I also provide information literacy classes for a variety of social science classes at Brantford Laurier. I have a PhD in English.
Professional Development