There are many ways to automatically format citations using various online tools. Librarians and Consultants support and recommend some options more than others, based on our experience. But the best choice is the one that works for you, helps you organize your research workflow, and feels right.
Remember that these are shortcuts to save you time, but they are all imperfect, and draw from imperfect databases. They may get you 90% of the way to a great bibliography, but you are ultimately responsible for what goes into your paper, so always double-check the output of any automated tools.
Many databases have Built-in Buttons that give you a formatted citation in a few major style options.
LaChance Library's Search Everything has this functionality, as do other EBSCO databases, Google Scholar, WorldCat, and more.
If you want more than one formatted citation at a time, but don't want to install software, Bibliography Generators let you build a list and offer more styles.
LaChance Librarians and the Learning Consultants recommend ZoteroBib, since it's free for all citation styles, and is from George Mason's Center for History & New Media, not an ad-supported commercial site.
Zotero is a robust tool for collecting, managing, and citing sources. It was built by George Mason University's Center for History & New Media. It is free and open source and tends to be a librarian favorite. Zotero functions as a browser plugin with a web backup. It works with Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, and integrates with Microsoft Word and Google Docs for in-text parenthetical/footnote citations.
For Zotero Help: consult the Documentation or Forums or ask a LaChance Librarian or a Learning Consultant.
Mendeley began as a document organizing and markup tool. It now also offers citation management and social networking features as well. It is provided by the large science publisher Elsevier. Mendeley is freemium software that is free for a certain amount of storage and charges beyond that cap. Mendeley works as both a desktop and a web-based program.
For Mendeley Help: consult the Documentation or FAQs or ask a LaChance Librarian or a Learning Consultant.
EndNote is one of the oldest and most established tools for citation management. It is published by Clarivate Analytics, the same company that publishes Web of Science. EndNote can now function as a desktop application with web backup, or as a standalone web-based program. There is strong integration with several science databases like Web of Science and PubMed, and it tends to be a favorite for some STEM fields, especially when a lab is using its collaborative features.
EndNote Online is a free version of EndNote that offers fewer features than EndNote Desktop but does have the advantage of a simpler and completely web-based tool.
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