Answered By: Claire Sewell
Last Updated: Sep 19, 2016     Views: 206

Having established that plagiarism is a Bad Thing the next step is finding an easy way to reference your work correctly.

The good news is that you can collate all your references into a reference management tool and let it do all the hard work for you!

What are these reference management tools?

There are lots of choices but here are some of the more commonly used ones:

  • Everyone in Cambridge has the option to create an free online account in Endnote Web
  • Free online tools such as Mendeley or Zotero are popular (these are free to use in their basic form, but you have to pay a monthly charge for some advanced features).  If you work with LaTeX, BibTeX and JabRef may be better options for you.
  • A third alternative is that you purchase a piece of software to load onto your own computer. Endnote sells a desktop version of its software.

What does a reference management tool do?

Each one is different, but most allow you to:

  • Import references from the databases that you’re searching (for example from Web of Science, JSTOR)
  • Input references by hand (but beware of the potential for error)
  • Organise these references using groups, folders or keywords
  • Connect with word processing software to allow you to incorporate your references into your written work as footnotes and bibliographies
  • Change the referencing style so that each piece of work is using the correct style (whether that be a numbered system (e.g. Vancouver) or an ‘author/date’ style (e.g. Harvard)
  • Attach the full text as a PDF of any papers you have found

Some tools may have additional features such as:

  • Share resources / references between colleagues
  • Search for more relevant references
  • Annotate the PDFs that you collect and/or taking notes about each reference
  • Mobile app versions

Where can I go for help?

There is plenty of guidance on these resources available online, via the University Information Services (Computing) and from many libraries. You can attend a training course, or use the Teach Yourself Guides and videos below:

Videos on YouTube:

Teach Yourself Guides:

Your librarian may also be able to help you. You can find the contact details for all University libraries in the Libraries Directory.