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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Finding and Using E-Books

Looking for an e-book? You're looking in the right place!

Free Tools: Zotero, Mendeley, and Calibre

1. Zotero

Zotero is free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials (such as PDF files). It can create citations in a variety of styles as well as generate in-text citations, footnotes and bibliographies. Also, Zotero allows you to sync citations between your computers.

Zotero has no dedicated customer support service, but the Zotero website provides a wealth of information, including instructional screencasts, troubleshooting tips, a list of known issues, and user forums. Zotero comes with 300 MB of free online storage, and additional file storage can be purchased.

See also: Library Guide on Zotero


2. Mendeley

Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data, and collaborating online. It combines Mendeley Desktop, a PDF and reference management application (available for Windows, Mac and Linux) with Mendeley Web, an online social network for researchers. Mendeley is available as a basic free version, and also in premium commercial versions.

See also: Library Guide on Mendeley


3. Calibre

Calibre is a free and open source e-book computer software application that organizes, saves, groups and manages e-books. Calibre can sync with a variety of popular e-book readers and will, within DRM restrictions, convert e-books between differing formats, which helps it work with many different reading devices. Additionally, Calibre can convert online content sources, including news articles, into e-books.

Free Tools with the Option to Upgrade: Mendeley & Evernote

1. EndNote

EndNote is software that allows you to keep track of your citations, organize them into folders, and create references and bibliographies in your papers. EndNote is similar to Mendeley and Zotero, but it allows you to produce bibliographies in a greater number of citation styles and allows greater customization. It is particularly popular in the sciences.

See also: Library Guide on EndNote


 2. Evernote

Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for note-taking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, file attachment, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook. All Evernote accounts, both free and premium, have a maximum limit of 100,000 notes and 250 notebooks. See Evernote's YouTube tutorials for more information.