Bibliographic management

Using a tool to manage and create references can be really helpful, especially when dealing with a large number of references. These tools, known as bibliographic or reference management tools, allow you to collect and save details of the resources you've used in your work. They can then automatically generate references, reference lists, and bibliographies in various referencing styles.

Selecting a tool to manage your references

When choosing a tool to manage your references, you'll find both free and paid options available. Keep in mind that free versions might have limitations, like limited storage space. There are different types of tools to consider:

  • Websites that quickly generate a single reference (citation generators).
  • Word processing software with plugins that generate references as you write.
  • Browser extensions that help you gather references easily.
  • Applications accessible online or installed on your device.

The Open University doesn't endorse any specific product, but this Selecting a reference management tool activity will help you choose the right one for you. Wikipedia provides a page containing an extensive comparison of tools you may also find useful.

Staff and postgraduate researchers using OU-managed devices can obtain the EndNote software by contacting the IT helpdesk.

Support for reference management tools

The library provides a training session that gives an Introduction to reference management tools and an activity that provides help when using Reference management tools with library databases (requires login).

The Library helpdesk does not provide support for these tools. However, below is a list of links to various help materials for some of the more popular tools. If you are still struggling to find an answer to your question, please contact the supplier directly.

Tool Videos Further Support
Endnote Endnote YouTube EndNote technical support
Endnote Basic (Free)  Endnote Basic YouTube  
Mendeley (Free) Mendeley YouTube Mendeley Support Center
Papers Papers YouTube Papers Support Home
Zotero (Free) Zotero YouTube Zotero documentation and forums 
Google Scholar Button GSB on You Tube  
ZoteroBib   ZoteroBib FAQs
MyBib   MyBib Intro Guide