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Microbiology Research Guide

Resources for people doing research in various areas of microbiology

Citation management tools

Bibliographic or citation management tools can make it easier to organize and cite references. They do this by collecting, organizing, and storing the citation information about the references you save, and integrating that information into a word processor to automatically generate citations and reference lists for you.

ISU librarians provide support for three options:

  • EndNote (paid and free / basic)
  • Mendeley (free)
  • Zotero (free)

You will need to choose the option that makes the most sense for you. If you are collaborating with others and they are already using a citation management program, it would be a good choice to use the same system.


Zotero is a free citation management program with a desktop app and browser extension for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It seamlessly integrates with Word, LibreOffice, and even Google Docs in Firefox and Chrome. The latest versions uses non-profit resources to find free PDFs and identifying retracted items. It excels at collecting accurate citations, especially from online sources.


1. Download & Install

Zotero consists of the Zotero program itself, a Connector that allows Zotero to connect with your browser of choice, plus optional third-party plugins. Start by downloading and installing Zotero and the connector for the browser you use most often: Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

2. Register & Sync

To sync your reference data on or use your library on multiple computers, register for a free Zotero account, allowing data syncing. This account offers unlimited storage for references, and you can opt for additional file storage (300 MB free, with more for purchase).

After installing Zotero and your preferred Connector, and setting up your account, go to Zotero's Preferences tab. Enter your login details to enable data syncing. Now, you can begin collecting references!


Mendeley is a free reference management tool available in both desktop and web versions. It allows users to organize, annotate, and cite research papers. Mendeley features a Word add-in (Mendeley Cite) for easy citation in documents. It's a good option for users of Elsevier search tools and those who use the online version of Word, especially if they have an Elsevier account.

1. Register

2. Download & Install

EndNote Basic

EndNote Basic is a simplified, web-based version of the popular reference management software, EndNote. Designed for basic reference organization and citation needs, EndNote Basic allows users to create and manage their citation libraries online. It offers essential features such as organizing references, creating bibliographies, and citing sources within documents. While it may not have the advanced capabilities of the full EndNote desktop version, EndNote Basic provides a user-friendly and accessible option for those with basic citation management requirements.

1. Register

2. Install

Login to your EndNote Basic account and click on the Downloads tab.

Word Plug-in

Under Cite While You Write, choose the appropriate Windows or Mac Plug-in, and Install the program on your computer.


To install the Capture tool, just drag the Capture Reference button to your Bookmarks bar.

EndNote Click

Save time getting full-text PDFs into EndNote with the free browser plugin.