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Study skills

Reference management tools

These tools help you store references, create bibliographies, and manage large sets of references for projects like systematic reviews. They're ideal for longer-term projects like dissertations or projects that use a lot of references.

Every tool here contains all York St John University referencing styles, so which reference management tool you choose will depend on your particular needs. Use the information below to help you decide, or speak to your Academic Liaison Librarian about your needs.


Zotero is a free, open-source reference management tool developed by George Mason University and managed as a not-for-profit product. It allows you to manage references using either a web-based site or a desktop programme, and has options for integration with Chrome, Firefox and Safari, as well as citation plugins for Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. Zotero has powerful features including Unpaywall integration which helps you to find open access versions of research.

Zotero is independent from York St John University so you can continue to use Zotero after you have left the University (just make sure your account is registered to a personal email address when you leave).


Mendeley Reference Manager is a free reference management tool, and academic social network, owned and managed by Elsevier.

Mendeley is independent from York St John University so you can continue to use Mendeley after you have left the university (just make sure your account is registered to a personal email address when you leave).

  • Access Mendeley (to create account, sign in, and download the programme and plugins to your own computer)


RefWorks is a web-based reference management system accessible to any member of York St John University. It has integration for web browsers and has citation plugins for Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

RefWorks access is managed by York St John Univesity and you will need to create an account using your YSJ email address in order to use it.

If you are leaving York St John then you can retain access to your RefWorks account as an Alumni. Before you leave you will need to go into your account settings, change your role to 'Alumni' and change your York St John email address to a personal email address.

For help with using Legacy RefWorks or migrating your libraries to new RefWorks, please speak to your Academic Liaison Librarian.

EndNote (for staff and researchers only)

EndNote 20 (for staff and researchers only)

EndNote is reference management software available to staff and postgraduate researchers. There are two versions of EndNote:

  • The desktop version which is highly sophisticated software that can be made available on university PCs/personal devices for staff and postgraduate researchers
  • EndNote Online, which is a simplified version and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.

EndNote also has a citation plugin for Microsoft Word.

If you leave the University then you will still be able to access up to 50,000 references and 2GB of storage through EndNote Online. You can also export your references into alternative reference management software or into a Word document.

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