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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Information Literacy Tutorial: Managing Sources

Learn how to find, evaluate, and manage sources with this guide.

Managing Your Sources

Citation management tools collect, manage, and cite research from all types of sources to help you organize and create your bibliography.

The library offers a variety of Savvy Researcher workshops which explain how to use citation managers. A list of current workshops can be found here:

Citation Styles

Citations are used to give credit to those you reference in your papers and presentations. Citation styles are the specific way you organize information related to each reference, such as title and author. Citations are important because they maintain your academic integrity and give proper credit to those you reference.

The most common citation styles are MLA (from the Modern Language Association), APA (from the American Psychological Association), and Chicago (from the Chicago Manual of Style).

For more information see:

Managing your Sources

Citation management tools are useful for collecting and citing sources. Some popular citation management tools are Zotero, Calibre, Mendeley, and EndNote.


  • Zotero: Zotero is a citation manager designed to store, manage, and cite bibliographic references, such as books and articles. It can be downloaded as a browser extension to Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. You can also download Zotero Standalone to your desktop.
  • Calibre: Calibre is a free and open source e-book computer software application that organizes, saves, and manages e-books. Calibre is available for Windows, OSX, and Linux and can sync with a variety of popular e-book readers. It can also convert online content sources, including news articles, into e-books.

Free with paid option:

  • 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.
  • EndNote: EndNote is a reference management software package used to manage bibliographies and references. With it you can group citations into "libraries." It can also be integrated with Microsoft Word.