Reference management with Zotero, Citavi and EndNote

When writing academic texts, take advantage of the extensive tools that a reference management program provides.

The benefits of reference management programs Introduction
  •  You can import references from catalogues and databases, systematically archive them and export them to your word processor in a variety of citation styles.
  •  You can manage and annotate your own collection of literature in a structured way.
  •  These programs also help when organising knowledge and writing academic texts.
  •  A few of the systems enable users to access their records on various devices via the internet.
  •  Module 6 of the FreiLern@UB online tutorial and the online tutorials by individual program providers offer help on using reference management programs.

    Comparison of reference management programs
Zotero (Cost-)Free literature management

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share references. It is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Data can also be shared with other users online, so citations can be copied from websites to the reference management system at the click of a mouse. This also applies to the full texts associated with the citations.

Bibliographies can be created by right-clicking on the collection of bibliographical information that has already been added to Zotero. There are special plugins so that the program can be installed in word processors.

Multilingual documentation and a number of screencast tutorials are available online.


Common referencing formats, for example APA or MLA, are supported by the program and pre-installed on it. In addition, more than 10,000 referencing styles are available in the Zotero Style Repository and can be installed in the program. On the Style page of this website, users can hover the cursor over one of the styles to see examples of bibliographies formatted in this style. 

File formats used by other reference management programs, e.g. RIS, Refer or BibTeX, can also be imported and exported. 

For the holdings query in the catalogue plus, the integration of a link resolver is possible. This allows you to find out directly from Zotero under the "Find" button (green arrow pointing to the right on the menu bar next to the search slot) whether the publications you are looking for are available in Freiburg. The default setting is the link resolver of Worldcat; you can adjust your selection via the menu item "Edit, Settings, Advanced (last tab)" by selecting "Custom, Europe, Germany, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität" under the heading "OpenURL" and confirming your selection with okay.

Citavi Campus licence for students and employees of the university

In addition to the traditional features of reference management programs, Citavi also has other functions, including options for organising knowledge and planning tasks. Its focus is on searches in subject databases and library catalogues and writing and displaying texts using the specifications of certain citation styles.

Incorporating a link resolver enables users to check availability in local and national search tools from Citavi.


All students and employees of the University of Freiburg with a valid university account can use Citavi free of charge until 31.3.2027.
For more information on obtaining a licence key required for Citavi and for further licensing, please contact university’s IT Services.

EndNote Basic Web-based reference management tool

EndNote Basic is a web-based reference management tool with restricted functionality in comparison to the single-user version. We do not have a campus licence for the full version.

EndNote Basic provides a feature similar to Zotero that makes references available to other EndNote users via the Shared Library function. Data can also be exchanged between the single-user and online versions of EndNote.


Data is imported from databases via their export function. The exported files can then be imported and added to EndNote Basic via the “My References” tab. After organising the information and deleting any possible duplicates, the results can either be published as a bibliography under the “Format” tab or added to the user’s existing work in .rtf format in the referencing style of their choice. Users can also export the data in an export format compatible with one of the popular reference management programs for further processing in one of these applications.


Users can create a free account on the provider’s website or use a personal account.

University of Freiburg