Papers Bibliography Software Free

The following tables compare reference management software. Researchers using the tables below for comparison in order to evaluate and choose reference management software should note the product's "latest stable release date." An older release date suggests the product is not currently being supported and users may encounter technical issues and little to no technical support.

General[edit]

In the "notes" section, there is a difference between:

  • web-based, referring to applications that may be installed on a web server (usually requiring MySQL or another database and PHP, Perl, Python, or some other language for web applications)
  • a centrally-hosted website
SoftwareDeveloperFirst public releaseLatest stable release dateLatest stable versionCost (USD)Free softwareLicenseNotes
AigaionAigaion developers2005-012013-05-082.2FreeYesGNU GPLweb-based (Apache, PHP, MySQL)
BebopALaRI Institute2007-11-082009-11-101.1FreeYesBSDweb-based BibTeX front-end (Apache, PHP, MySQL)
BibBaseChristian Fritz20052013-07v3FreeNoProprietarycentrally hosted website, intended for publication pages
BibDeskBibDesk developers2002-042017-11-281.6.13FreeYesBSDBibTeX front-end + repository; Cocoa-based; integration with Spotlight
BiblioscapeCG Information19972015-06-2210.0.3.6US$79-299[1]NoProprietaryODBC; web access in Pro ed; optional client/server
BibSonomyUniversity of Kassel2006-012016-12-023.7.0FreeYesAGPL, GPL, LGPL[2]centrally hosted website
BibusBibus developers2004-06-032009-12-011.5.1FreeYesGNU GPL
BookendsSonny Software1988 (Mac) / 1983 (Apple II+)2017-11-1013.0 [3]US$60[1]NoProprietaryintegrated web search, pdf download, auto-completion
CitaviSwiss Academic Software2006-02-132018-02-206.0US$70-949 / Free for projects up to 100 references[4]NoProprietarydata can be saved locally on the computer, or, for team access, in the Citavi Cloud or an intranet Microsoft SQL Server;[5] search databases from interface[6]
CiteULikeOversity Limited2004-11?FreeNoproprietary[7]centrally hosted website
colwizcolwiz Ltd20112016-05-09Free / Online storage free up to 3 GB / Additional storage space availableNoProprietaryDesktop (Win, Mac, Linux) & Web components, iOS and Android
EndNoteClarivate Analytics19882018-01-09X8.2US$299.95[1]NoProprietaryThe web version EndNote basic (formerly, EndNote Web) is free of charge
F1000WorkspaceF1000/Science Navigation Group2015-05Continually updated onlineInstitutional access – varies with size of institute / Personal subscription $9.99/month / Free Trial VersionNoProprietaryWeb-based, Microsoft Word plug-in (Win, Mac), Google Docs add-on, browser extension(s) Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer 11, mobile app available
JabRefJabRef developers2003-11-292017-12-234.1FreeYesMIT licenseJavaBibTeX and BibLaTeX manager
KBibTeXKBibTeX developers2005-082015-08-090.6FreeYesGNU GPLBibTeX front-end, using the KDE Software Compilation
MendeleyElsevier2008-0820171.17.10Free / Online storage free up to 2 GB / Additional storage space availableNoproprietary (OS API clients exist)Account required, Desktop & Web components, Windows, Linux, OS X, iPhone & iPad, Android
PaperpileStefan Washietl, Gregorgy Jordan, Andreas Gruber2013Continually updated onlineUS$2.99/month for academics, 9.99/month otherwiseNoProprietaryweb-application, integrates with Google Docs, collaboration & sharing features, currently only on Google Chrome
PapersLabtiva20072016-05-113.4.5US$79[1]NoProprietarysearch repositories from interface; supports plug-ins, Universal iOS app
Pybliographerpybliographer developers1998-10-30 (0.2)2017-10-061.2.18FreeYesGNU GPLPython/GTK2
QiqqaQiqqa2010-042016-09v79Free, Freemium and Premium versionsNoProprietaryDesktop; Tablet; Web; Intranet
ReadCubeLabtiva2011-102016-09-20v2.22.13732Free desktop & mobile app / Cloud Storage $5/month, $55/yearNoProprietaryDesktop (Mac/PC) & Web components, personalized recommendations, private group sharing, integrated web search, enhanced PDF reader, iOS App, Android
refbaserefbase developers2003-06-032014-02-280.9.6FreeYesGNU GPLweb-based for institutional repositories/self-archiving[8]
RefDBrefdb developers2001-04-252007-11-050.9.9FreeYesGNU GPLnetwork-transparent; XML/SGML bibliographies
Reference ManagerThomson Reuters1984201012.0.3Not for sale anymore, sales ceased December 31, 2015NoProprietarynetwork version; built-in web publishing tool; discontinued
ReferencerReferencer developers2008-03-152014-02-271.2.2FreeYesGNU GPLBibTeX front-end
RefWorksRefWorks / ProQuest20012013US$100 per yearNoProprietaryweb-based, browser-accessed, centrally hosted program
RefMERefME2014Shut down on March 7, 2017FreeNoProprietaryWeb, iOS and Android; Chrome and Safari Extensions available; discontinued
SciRefScientific Programs20122015-07-261.5US$38.90 / Free trial versionNoProprietary
SenteThird Street Software, Inc.200420156.7.9US$60–80[1] / Free for libraries up to 100 refsNoProprietaryDesktop and iPad, centralized backup/synching
WikindxMark Grimshaw2004-022014-084.2.2FreeYesGNU GPLweb-based
WizFolioWizPatent2008-062011-01AvataraUS$25 / Free Basic versionNoProprietarycentrally hosted website; discontinued, service ends December 2017
ZoteroRoy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at GMU20062017-075.0.4 [9]Free / Online storage free up to 300 MB / Additional storage space availableYesAGPLMulti-platform desktop version with connectors for Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Web-based access to reference library also available.

Operating system support[edit]

In the case of web applications, this describes the server OS. For centrally hosted websites that are proprietary, this is not applicable. Any client OS can connect to a web service unless stated otherwise in a footnote.

SoftwareWindowsMac OS XLinuxChromeOSBSDUnixiOS AppAndroid AppWindows App
AigaionYesYesYes?YesYesNoNoNo
BebopYesYesYes?YesYesNoNoNo
BibBaseN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A???
BibDeskNoYesNo?NoNoThird-party - PocketBib??
BibSonomyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A???
BibusYesExperimentalYes?YesYesNoNoNo
BookendsNoYesNo?NoNoYes??
CitaviYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
CiteULikeN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A???
colwizYesYesYes?YesYesYesYesNo
EndNoteYesYesNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
F1000WorkspaceYesYesNoNoNoNoYesYesNo
JabRefYesYesYesNoYesYesNoNoNo
KBibTeXExperimentalExperimentalYes?YesYesNoNoNo
MendeleyYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYesNo
PaperpileYesYesYesYesNo
(requires Chrome)
No
(requires Chrome)
NoNoNo
PapersNoYesNoNoNoNoYesthird party - EZPaperz[10] or Aziz, Lite![11]No
PybliographerPartial[12]Partial[12]Yes?YesYesNoNoNo
QiqqaYesNoNo?NoNoNoYesNo
ReadCubeYesYesNo?NoNoYesYesNo
refbaseYesYesYes?YesYesNoNoNo
RefDBYesYesYes?YesYesNoNoNo
Reference ManagerYes[13]NoNo?NoNoNoNoNo
ReferencerNoNoYes?NoNo???
RefWorks[14]YesYesYes?YesYes???
SciRefYesNoNo?NoNo???
SenteNoYesNo?NoNoYes[15]??
WikindxYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
WizFolioYesYesYes?YesYes???
ZoteroYesYesYes?YesYesthird partythird party - Aziz, Lite![11]No

Export file formats[edit]

This table lists the machine-readable file formats that can be exported from reference managers. These are typically used to share data with other reference managers or with other people who use a reference manager. To exchange data from one program to another, the first program must be able to export to a format that the second program may import. Import file formats are in a table below this one.

SoftwareBibTeXEndnote/Refer/BibIXMedlineMODS XMLRISOther
AigaionYesNoNoNoYesnone
BebopYesNoNoNoNounAPI
BibBaseYesNoNoNoNonone
BibDeskYesNoYesYesYesEndnote XML, user customizable
BibSonomyYesYesNoNoYesvarious [2]
BibusYesYesYesNoYesSQLite
BookendsYesYesYesNoYesvarious user-customizable
CitaviYesYesYesYesYesvarious
CiteULikeYesNoNoNoYesCOinS, Delicious
colwizYesYesNoYesYesEndNote XML, CSL formatted HTML
EndNoteYesYesYesNoYesvarious[16]
F1000WorkspaceYesNoNoNoYesCSV
JabRefYesYesNoYesYesBibTeXML, DocBook, HTML, OpenDocument for OO.o, RTF, SQL database, user-customizable
KBibTeXYesYesNoDepends[17]YesPDF, PostScript, HTML, XML, RTF
MendeleyYesYesNoNoYesEndnote XML
PaperpileYesNoNoNoYesnone
PapersYesYesNoNoYesBookends, CSV, Endnote XML, PDF
PybliographerYesYesYesNoNoOvid
ReadCubeYesYesNoNoYesnone
QiqqaYesNoNoNoNonone
refbaseYesYesNoYesYesCOinS, OpenDocument for OO.o, SRW XML via SRU, unAPI, Word XML
RefDBYesYesNoYesYesSRW XML via SRU web service, DocBook, TEI
Reference ManagerNoNoNoNoYesMEDLARS, TSV, CSV, Reference Manager XML, user-customizable
ReferencerYesNoNoNoNonone
RefWorksYesYesNoNoYesvarious[18]
SciRefNoNoNoNoYesPlain text, RTF
SenteYesYesNoNoYesuser-customizable
WikindxYesYesNoYesYesCOinS, RTF, HTML, ADS, Word BIB
WizFolioNoNoNoNoYesNo
ZoteroYesYesas of version 4.0[19]YesYesCOinS, CSV, Several RDF format standards, TEI, Wikipedia citation templates, Endnote XML, CSL JSON, Refer/BiblX, RefWorks tagged

Import file formats[edit]

This table lists the file formats which may be manually imported into the reference managers without needing to connect to one particular database. Many of these database companies use the same name for their file format as they do for their database (including Copac, CSA, ISI, Medline, Ovid, PubMed, and SciFinder). For the ability to retrieve citations from the particular databases (rather than the file format), please refer to the database connectivity table that is below this table.

SoftwareBibTeXCopacCSAEndnote/Refer/BibIXISIMedlineMODS XMLOvidPubMedRISSciFinderOther
AigaionYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNonone
BebopYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNonone
BibBaseYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNonone
BibDeskYesYesNoYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesMARC, JSTOR, Reference Miner
BiblioscapeYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYes ?
BibSonomyYesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoFirefox bookmarks
BibusYesNoNoYesYesYesNoNoNoYesNonone
BookendsYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesvarious [3]; user-customizable
CitaviYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesvarious
CiteULikeYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNonone
colwizYesNoNoYesYesYesNoNoYesYesNowith built-in browser, bookmarklet
EndNoteNoNoYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesvarious[20]
F1000WorkspaceYesNoNoYesNoYesNoNoYesYes

The Best Free Online Bibliography And Citation Tools 

Free online bibliography and citation tools have become an integral part of every eLearning project, especially if you are on a tight eLearning budget. eLearning content developers make extensive use of these platforms to avoid being accused of stealing somebody else’s ideas. However, cost keeps rising if you add fancy citation tools with elegant and advanced features. So, here are the best free online bibliography and citation tools that are bound to get the job done without any extra burden on your eLearning budget.

1. BibMe

One of the most functional free online bibliography and citation tools on the Internet. All the features an eLearning content developer needs are there.

  • 4 Citation Styles
    Whether you are using MLA, APA, Turabian or Chicago, BibMe can help you reference your work effectively.
  • Variety Of Sources
    Journals, websites, books and many other sources covering both digital and print format.
  • Plagiarism Checker
    Check your content for plagiarism against a great deal of sources on the Internet to avoid using somebody else’s words.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version Available
    Most of the features are available in the free version.

2. Citation Machine

This is definitely one of the most easy to use free online bibliography and citation tools.

  • Vast Citation Style Variety
    Citation Machine can help eLearning content developers reference in all 4 major styles, namely APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian. However, it provides an immense library of 7.000 additional citation styles for many different fields.
  • Resources And Guides
    The platform offers a guide on how to properly cite in APA, MLA and Chicago.
  • Plagiarism Checker
    Much like BibMe, this platform also offers this feature that only comes if you subscribe though.
  • Numerous Sources
    Citation Machine allows you to cite content from books, magazines, newspapers, journals, films and many other sources.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version Available
    Citation Machine offers many of its great features for free.

3. Citavi

Citavi is multi-purpose free online bibliography and citation tool eLearning content developers can use for their knowledge organization needs. It is also a reference manager and a task management platform.

  • Research Process Management
    From importing sources, referencing them properly and then exporting them, to managing content and allocating tasks in a team, this free online bibliography and citation tool does much more than help you create a works-cited page.
  • Many Options To Add References
    Citavi gives you the chance to choose the way you want to add references. It features 35 options to include automatical or manual referencing as well as using a bar code scanner or PDF referencing.
  • Knowledge Organizer
    Two groundbreaking options that are Citavi exclusives enable you to organize knowledge in an efficient way. Keywording and a hierarchical category system will aid you in adding your own thoughts to the platform.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version Available And Various Premium Options
    Citavi will not charge you anything for up to 100 references. Then, you have various premium membership options for commercial use, education as well as student and personal use.

4. Citefast

While having a relatively simplistic interface, this platform offers all the major functions of a good free online bibliography and citation tool.

  • 3 Citation Styles
    APA, MLA and Chicago to cover all your basic reference needs as well as an in-text citation generator.
  • Good Variety Of Sources
    Webpages, books, journals, newspapers and online videos along with many other digital and print sources.
  • Style Guides For All 3 Citation Styles
    Comprehensive list of style tips for APA, MLA and Chicago.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Programs
    Citefast offers all of its features for free.

5. Citelighter

An award-winning multi-purpose free online bibliography and citation tool that also functions as an excellent writing aid tool.

  • Automatic Bibliographies And Writing Templates
    Citelighter will generate your bibliographies automatically leaving you more time for writing. It also features great writing template variety to help you organize your thoughts effectively.

Features And Plans

  • Demo Version And 1 Premium Option Available
    Although Citelighter has a paid version, you do have the chance to test out many of its great features for free. Citelighter offers a very competitive package in a very affordable price which they claim is 80% less than similar market solutions. By contacting them you can find out about the price specifics.

6. Docear

Open-source academic literature management and free online bibliography and citation tool with lots of interesting features that can assist eLearning content developers in referencing their eLearning materials.

  • Single-Section User Interface
    Easy-to-use layout that allows users to organize documents and categorize annotations. It also enables multiple viewing of various annotations in different documents.
  • Available In Various Platforms
    Windows, Mac, and Linux to suit the needs of any eLearning content developer.

Features And Plans

  • No Premium Subscription Required
    Docear doesn’t have any premium membership options, but it does give you the chance to donate for its running and maintenance costs.

7. Recipes4Success

What’s radical about this free online bibliography and citation tool is that it gives you the chance to even reference sources like sound effects, music pieces, images and email messages.

  • Automatically Formatted Citations
    You still have to type in all the information but Recipes4Success formats it for you.
  • Simple And Easy-To-Use Interface
    Recipe4Success’s user-friendly interface is applicable to all sorts of needs.

Features And Plans

  • No Premium Subscription Required
    No fee is required for users to utilize Recipes4Success’s features.

8. OttoBib

While we are in the digital era a great deal of information comes from print publications such as books. OttoBib is one ofthose free online bibliography and citation tools that are used specifically for book sources.

  • ISBN Citations
    OttoBib enables eLearning content developers to reference their content just by providing the ISBN number of the book they used.
  • 6 Citation Styles
    MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, Wikipedia and BibTeX to cover all your basic citation needs.
  • Google Chrome Extension
    This add-on allows you to create citations from the comfort of your favorite web browser.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    OttoBib does not require any premium subscriptions.

9. RefDot

Although you wouldn’t actually call it a free online bibliography and citation tool, eLearning content developers can definitely benefit from this Google Chrome extension.

  • Numerous Citation Options
    RefDot allows you to cite books, journals and web sites.
  • Reference Storing
    References are stored in your Google Chrome browser.
  • Lots Of Features
    Simultaneous author management, XML, standard text and HTML format viewing.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    RefDot is a 100% free Google Chrome extension.

10. Zotero

Browser plugin and a great free online bibliography and citation tool that helps eLearning content developers gather, manage and share their research sources.

  • Personalized Resource Libraries
    By embedding this plugin you are able to store digital sources of virtually any kind in your library by a single click.
  • Support For Many Sites
    From university libraries to news sites, Zotero provides all the research assistance you need.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    Zotero is a free online bibliography and citation tool. As such it does not require any memberships.

11. EasyBib

Free online bibliography and citation tools constitute a functional way for people wanting to reference various types of content, both digital and print. EasyBib provides a well-rounded solution for all your citation needs.

  • 59 Content Sources
    Content sources range from traditional types such as books and journal articles all the way to live performances and newsletters.
  • Manual Cite
    Although Easybib provides automatically formatted citations, you also have the option to manually cite your references and even add annotations.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    EasyBib offers its citation features for free.

12. CiteThisForMe

CiteThisForMe is one of those free online bibliography and citation tools that offer a plethora of features for reference management.

  • Functional Interface
    Citethisforme showcases a great layout. Everything you need is easily accessible from the comfort of your own dashboard.
  • Practical Features
    Great variety in sources, citation styles and editing options. What’s more, if you pay for a subscription you can get additional features such as a plagiarism checker, a Chrome add-on and a mobile application.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version And 1 Premium Option Available
    Although CiteThisForMe comes with a free version, there is also 1 premium option available. For $9 you can purchase the premium version and get 5 plagiarism checks per month, spelling and grammar checks as well as various other features.

Free online bibliography and citation tools are the most effective way for eLearning content developers to give credit to people whose ideas they used. More importantly, these platforms offer great and functional features with no additional expenses, which is extremely important for maintaining a low eLearning budget for an eLearning project.

Free online bibliography and citation tools are just one type of tool eLearning content developers should have in their bunker. Another one is free tools to create infographics. Read the article List Of Free Tools To Create Infographics For Your Learners and find out about the best free tools to produce quality infographics for online learners.

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