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Library Services



Reference management software

This guide introduces reference management software and the options available to users of UCL Library Services.

How to use reference management software at UCL


There are a variety of reference management packages you can use at UCL. Here are some of the options available to you.

EndNote Desktop 

EndNote Desktop is licensed software, available on the UCL desktop. UCL staff and students have access through UCL’s institutional subscription. To use it from home, you can access it via Desktop@UCL Anywhere or download it to your home PC or Mac computer, for use whilst you remain a member of UCL - you must delete it when you leave UCL. See How to install EndNote for instructions on installing EndNote Desktop to your personal device. You can sync EndNote Desktop with the online version. 

To use EndNote Desktop, staff working at NHS Trusts affiliated to UCL need to purchase an EndNote licence. with the exception of Great Ormond Street Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which have licences for EndNote desktop.

See the EndNote guide for instructions on how to use EndNote Desktop. 


Mendeley Reference Manager & Mendeley Desktop

Mendeley is a useful tool to collectstore and format references. Mendeley also works with Microsoft Word and Open Office to insert in-text citations and compose bibliographies. Mendeley Reference Manager and Mendeley Desktop (desktop apps) are available on the UCL desktop. They generally cannot be downloaded to NHS PCs computers (arrangements in some Trusts may differ)and only Mendeley Reference Manager (not Mendeley Desktop, since 1 Sept. 2022) can be downloaded to any other computer for which you have admin rights.

See the Mendeley guide for instructions on using Mendeley Reference Manager. 


Zotero Standalone

Zotero Standalone is open-source software available on the UCL desktop. It is also free to download to your own computer. Zotero has a sync function which allows you to store your library in the Cloud.

See Installing Zotero Standalone, for instructions on installing Zotero to your personal device. You can sync Zotero with the online version, but note that although Zotero provides unlimited storage for references, you will need to purchase Cloud storage space if you want to upload all the contents (PDFs and notes) to Zotero online.


Packages available online 

EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero are also all freely available online. 

  • EndNote Online has less functionality than the Desktop version, but you are still able to carry out the main reference management jobs, such as collecting, storing and formatting references and using the online version of Cite While You Write.
    See the EndNote guide for instructions on how to use EndNote (desktop) and EndNote Online. 
  • Mendeley is marketed primarily as an online tool. Mendeley Web has most of the functionality of the desktop version, except for the ability to insert references to a word-processor (Mendeley ‘Cite’ in desktop mode), 
    See the Mendeley guide for instructions on using Mendeley Web.  
  • Zotero can be used for the complete research cycle - from collating, saving, using bibliographic referencing for academic work, as well as for managing and organising information sources. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, and extract notes and highlights from these PDF files. You can add your own notes and create tags and link references in your Zotero library, as Zotero has a powerful search facility. It also allows you to keep updated with information using a built-in RSS feed reader. 
    See the Zotero guide for instructions on how to use Zotero.