Reference Management Support and Services at RWTH Aachen University

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Reference management is an important and time-intensive aspect of academic work. Reference management programs are an effective aid. Whether alone or in a team, at your desk or anywhere via the internet, reference management programs allow you to maintain an overview, even of large amounts of data, and are always accessible.




Helpdesk Literatur verwalten


+49 241 80 90206



What do Reference Management Programs do?

  • Collect, organize, and edit references, complete texts, websites, and pictures
  • Research and comfortable data transfer from library catalogs, professional databases, and search engines
  • Generate bibliographies in different citation styles for theses, papers, proposals or documentation
  • Work together with word processing, automatic generation of a bibliography in the desired citation style in working papers

Citavi, EndNote and Zotero at RWTH

From the number of reference management programs available, the University Library supports the two market-leading, commerical systems Citavi and Endnote, as well as the free software Zotero, with various services:

Campus license Helpdesk Courses Citation Style Service
Citavi yes yes yes yes
EndNote yes yes yes yes
Zotero non-commercial yes yes no

Which program is right for me?

The listed programs hardly differ in their basic functions, but have individual strengths and weaknesses. Which one you choose depends on the application scenarios in your institute or on the requirements of your own work. We will be happy to advise you in person.

Strength Weakness User Group
  • Commercial and free version with full functionality (limited to 100 references per project)
  • Full text search
  • Comprehensive knowledge management and task planning
  • Very intuitive interface
  • Jointly editing in small teams using the same drive or in the cloud supported; for larger groups external server and Citavi DBServer
  • Extensive help options and very good individual support
  • Easy to use Word Add-In with useful functions
  • Pdf reader with comprehensive editing options
  • Unique Citation Style Finder
  • Windows only
  • No online version
  • Windows user
  • Beginners to professionals
  • For Windows and Mac
  • Web version free for subscribers to Web of Science and with purchase of desktop version
  • Free web version EndNote Basic (limited functionality)
  • Manuscript Matcher to search for appropriate journals for publication
  • iPad app
  • Automated import of pdfs and search for full texts supported
  • Search in metadata, full text pdf and pdf comments supported
  • Not very intuitive
  • Web version: documents can not be shared between members of a shared group (only references)
  • People with the latest Mac versions (from MacOS 10.15 Catalina) cannot use EndNote x8 and earlier anymore
  • Windows and Mac users
  • With some training for all user groups
  • Desktop version for Windows, Mac, Linux and web version, therefore platform independent
  • Firefox extension integrated in web browser where literature search is performed
  • Open Source, free
  • Social Networking; sharing of papers in groups
  • Creation of separate notes (unrelated to references)
  • No database seach from within the program
  • No editing of full texts
  • No linking between different levels
  • Only basic structuring and sorting options
  • For undergraduates (free)
  • For smaller reference collections
  • All research areas
Source Reference Management Software Comparison, 8th Update, 2020, Technische Universität München, Universitätsbibliothek