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Zotero Vs Endnote Vs Refworks Bibliography

EndNote and RefWorks are both referencing softwares that help you create libraries of references and then place those references into documents according to various referencing styles. Both have the Harvard UTS referencing style accessible, and both offer a similar range of export options from databases, with a couple of exceptions. Despite the similarities there are a few differences between the two, which we'll list below, and add to from time to time as new things occur to us

  • The Biggest difference is that EndNote is a software you download to a particular computer (though you can download it more than once). EndNote does have a web based service also but it isn’t used independently of EndNote desktop software all that much.
  • For this reason RefWorks is easier to get going as you don’t need to download it and install patch files (for example the Harvard UTS Style) into it. As soon as you’ve created an account you are more or less good to go.
  • RefWorks does have a service called RefGrabit which grabs a bit of info from websites to create a partial reference, which EndNote the desktop software doesn’t
    have (though EndNote Web does)
  • RefWorks has a feature that will tell you which fields you’ll need to enter to create a full reference according to whatever style you are using, a feature EndNote doesn't have.
  • Both work with Microsoft Word, but EndNote makes it a bit easier to put page numbers into in-text references in Word, as it styles the page numbering according to referencing style for you.
  • However RefWorks does have less hassles when you have to work on numerous computers as it is web based. With EndNote you end up toting libraries across from one computer to another via dropbox or a usb stick, and there can be problems if you end up using multiple libraries to build one document.
  • RefWorks has the ability to attach files to references and these files live in the cloud, wheras EndNote file attachments live locally on your computer. RefWorks does offer a lot of storage however (5 gig presently)
  • RefWorks also has the ability to share libraries, including full text with colleagues at your institution. You can also create links to groups of references via social media. With EndNote you can create and email a library, but the sharing functionality is not as flexible as RefWorks (and other similar software like Mendeley and Zotero)
  • Refworks lets you install RSS feeds, meaning that references will be automatically sent to your library from these feeds, and the process is quite simple.
  • In terms of the other referencing softwares like Mendeley and Zotero, they are more like RefWorks than EndNote in the sense that they are in the cloud and logon driven. The main difference between RefWorks and the other two online softwares is that they don’t have a Harvard UTS download file.
  • Exporting from the Factiva news database is easier with RefWorks than it is with EndNote

Jump to RefWorks  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley  |  EndNote


A reference manager application can be a useful tool for anyone doing research. Reference managers allow you to:

  • Create bibliographies quickly and automatically format in-text citations with word processing software (Word, Google Docs, Open Office).
  • Collect citations as you research, and save them in a personal account.
  • Add citations automatically from UVA's Library's Virgo catalog and databases without having to cut and paste or retype the information.
  • Annotate citations and link them to full-text documents.
  • Organize citations into folders.

While a number of reference manager applications exist, UVA researchers generally use one of four: RefWorks, Zotero, Endnote, or Mendeley.

Please look at the descriptions below to decide which is best for you.  One thing to keep in mind is that it can be hard to switch from one platform to another.  You can export your citations, but transferring tags or folders will be difficult.

More extensive comparisons can be found at:

*  In Zotero and EndNote, configure the Open URL Resolver option to use http://re5qy4sb7x.search.serialssolutions.com/

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