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Mendeley: Citation Management

How to download and use Mendeley

Which Citation Tool?

You cannot go wrong choosing any of the tools, but it helps if you take a few things into consideration before starting. Remember that you can switch between the tools, it just becomes less convenient the longer you use a tool and the more file attachments you collect.

Some reasons to choose EndNote:

EndNote Research Guide

  • Zotero and Mendeley are relatively young tools when compared to EndNote. EndNote 20 offers some additional features that might be necessary for your discipline and work flow.
  • There are two versions of Endnote -- a stand alone desktop program and EndNote Online, a cloud-based version. If you want to use both, they can be synced so that you have the same references (from a single desktop library) in both places.
  • EndNote 20 is not free but SDSU has a license for faculty, staff, and students to download it free
  • EndNote Online is free. Setting up both Online and desktop EndNote and syncing them means you can add citations from any computer with cloud access
  • Storage limit: EndNote online via the Web of Science provides 2GB of storage with upgrade packages available.

Some reasons to choose Mendeley:

Mendeley Research Guide

  • Your research content is primarily contained in PDF files: Mendeley has an integrated PDF viewer and can create citation records just from importing a PDF file. has the strongest website and community platform.
  • Mendeley’s PDF viewer has excellent, easy-to-use, built-in capability.  You may also edit with another Mendeley user simultaneously.
  • Mendeley is owned by the for-profit publishing company Elsevier.
  • *Pricing structure: Mendeley follows the "freemium" model:  2 GB for the free version with additional storage available for purchase
  • For continuously updated Mendeley information and excellent help pages, check their website:

Some reasons to choose Zotero:

Zotero Research Guide

  • It gathers citation records for non-PDF and PDF content. Zotero's single-click capture works with many databases and websites, and works well with many catalogs, including WU Classic, MOBIUS, and WorldCat (FirstSearch interface)
  • You can also enable the retrieval of PDF metadata, which allows you to create citation records just from dragging a PDF into Zotero.
  • Zotero is open source and cannot be acquired by a company.
  • *Pricing structure: Zotero follows the "freemium" model:  300 MB for the free version with additional storage available for purchase
  • For continuously updated Zotero information, downloading, and excellent help pages, and forums, check their website: