Free and discounted citation management tools – which is right for you?

Citation management tools help you organize the results of a literature search and keep track of relevant articles.

There are a few options for free tools. Both Zotero and Mendeley are free but do have a limit for storage. EndNote Basic is free to the School of Medicine community through Web of Science as a web app. WashU faculty, staff and students can also purchase EndNote Desktop at a discounted rate through WUIT Software Licensing.

EndNote Desktop includes Cite While you Write, a tool that automates formatting reference citations and full-text retrieval (learn how). It is also available on six computers in the library at the Research Pod. Below is a comparison chart to show cost and capabilities.

EndNote Desktop EndNote Basic Zotero Mendeley
Cost $22 for students
$44 for faculty/staff through WUIT Software Licensing

Available free in library at Research Pod

Free to WUSM users Free Free
Attachment Storage Unlimited 2 GB 300 MB 2 GB
Sharing – Private groups Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sharing – Public groups No No Yes Yes
Full-text searching across PDFs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Download full-text PDFs through library authentication Yes
Learn how
No No No
Formats reference citations for Microsoft Word Yes Yes Yes Yes
Desktop syncs to online account Yes, one library at a time Online only Online only Yes

For EndNote help, contact Kim Lipsey at, or attend her Getting Organized with EndNote class on Friday, May 10.

For Mendeley and Zotero help, contact Michelle Doering at