An introduction to citation tools

1. Introduction - how do we cite?

1.1 The Benefits

A reference manager will save you a great deal of time organising your sources.

  1. It’s easy to save references from online sources. Often you can do this with a single click.
  2. It makes it far easier to organise your references, and keep track of what you’ve already read.
  3. It separates data from presentation. So it does all the hard work of converting references into different publication styles (eg, when rewriting part of your dissertation for an article). and it ensures that references in your work are consistently presented.

Moreover, reference managers offer some or all of a range of further functions that can turn them into powerful tools for managing the entire research life-cycle, from collecting sources to data analysis to publishing and sharing, including:

  • Annotations and attachments: you can take notes or even full transcriptions in the software itself, and attach (or link to) copies of the original text if it’s available in electronic form.
  • Organisation and linking: categories, tags or other means of organising references.
  • Cloud features, enabling online backup/storage and syncing across different devices.
  • Collaboration facilities for working on projects with other researchers.
  • Bulk import and export in standard formats.