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The Library: Reference management


Before using a reference manager it is essential you understand the principles of referencing. Please take a look at the relevant guidance for the referencing style you have been told to use (if in doubt check your module handbook or speak to your tutor):

For guidance on effective referencing see the Academic Integrity Module on MyBeckett.

For guidance on improving your writing see the Skills for Learning guides.

If you are writing to publish you will find most Journal referencing styles are available through Zotero, if in doubt contact the publisher for guidance.

Using a Reference Manager

The reference management tools supported at Leeds Beckett are Zotero and Endnote. These tools help you collect and organise your references and cite them in multiple styles in word processors. This guide will show you how to install the software and build your library. All tools work across different platforms, and each web importer works on most browsers, however it is advised that you check the websites to confirm yours are supported.

Choosing a reference management tool is a decision based on personal preference of specific features, or a need to use the same tool as colleagues. Below are some features of potential interest to different students:

  • Zotero is Open Source, with no financial interests in your usage. Endnote is owned by large publishing companies and is subject to product development which can result in changes to / loss of features.  
  • Both products work with Harvard and APA. Zotero is the better product to use with OSCOLA. 
  • Endnote and Zotero allow for font size changes in the application. 
  • Zotero allows you to make folders, and add searchable notes and tags to help you organise your collection, Endnote only uses folders and groups. It is important to consider the best way to use these organisational features before applying too many. 
  • Zotero takes a snapshot image of web pages, Endnote does not. 
  • Zotero and Endnote have built-in PDF viewers with highlight and sticky-notes options, which are searchable.
  • Endnote allows you to create a ‘Watch folder’, so any time you save a new pdf file to that location it will upload it to your library. 
  • Endnote and Zotero both allow collaboration.

If you are still unsure which tool is best for you, we suggest Zotero as the most straightforward. If you want to change to another tool at any time, you can export your library. If you need further advice please contact your Academic Librarian.


Reference management FAQs


Book an appointment

Daily appointments are usually available (weekdays only) where you can get more help with Harvard or OSCOLA (Law) or APA (Psychology) referencing. Click on Get Help below to book an appointment, or you can ask via the Library's Contact Us page.