One of the most popular and well known products in the academic community are reference managers. They are programs or tools that facilitate the storage, organization and control of our references. More specifically to create, maintain, organize, share and shape the references of articles (journal), books or other documents from different information sources (databases, journals, websites, etc.). Also it’s possible to create in-text citations and bibliographies in papers with a standardized format (eg: APA style, MLA, and Vancouver). Currently, most reference managers are able to interact with the most popular text editors as well as specific text editors for scientific documents (eg: Mellel).

The use of reference managers are a great time saver because they facilitate the handling of large amounts of references in an efficient manner and allow for automatic insertion of quotes and applying different bibliographic formats to generate bibliographies. The latest updates of most reference managers allow collaborative work between researchers at the same time.

We can classify reference managers into three types:

  • Desktop Reference Managers, that are installed on our computers, as any other traditional software. Eg: Bookends, Endnote and BibTex .
  • Web Reference Managers, whete the access is through the web browser. Eg: Refworks, Endnote Web, and Zotero.
  • Social Reference Managers, which are characterized by allowing interaction between researchers from the same research or work group. Eg: Mendeley and CiteULike.

In future posts, we will analyze the most popular and hottest reference managers in the market.