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Citation Resources: Citation Tools

Information on using APA / MLA / Chicago Citation Style Guides / Citation Builders & Managers / Writing Resources & Plagiarism

What Are Citation Builders?

Citation builders are programs that can help create your citation.  In most cases, after you select the type of source you are using, you are then prompted to type in the information (author name, title, etc.).  The program creates a citation for you to copy into your document.  Programs listed below are free unless otherwise noted:

Database Provided Citations

Many of the Library's subscription databases auto-generate citations for articles and e-books.  Some allow you to export citations to citation managers. 

Students are advised to review these citations to make sure they are compliant with the citation format assigned by your instructor.

Using MS Word to Create Citations

How to use Microsoft Word to create your reference list:

Accuracy Disclaimer

Not all citation builders are always correct.  Some are slow to adopt changes from style guide updates, may have a programming error, or may include entries that are mistyped.  Students should always double check their auto-generated citations for correctness.

Citation Management Software

Need help navigating the world of citation management software? Use the links above and the frequently asked questions below to learn a little more about four of the most popular options.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is citation management software?

  • Citation management software, also known as reference management software, is a computer program that helps researchers and students:
    • Collect and organize references from article databases
    • Format in-text citations, and generate bibliographies in your style of choice (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
  • In addition to these main functions, many citation managers also help you to:
    • Compile and organize PDFs
    • Share citations and collaborate with colleagues

Where do I get citation management software?

  • Depending on the type of citation management software you choose, it will be web-based, available via download, or installed from a DVD/CD.

How much does citation management software cost?

  • Costs vary widely. Many are free, some are “freemium” meaning basic functionality is free but additional features cost extra.  Still others are available for either a flat fee or annual subscription which can range from $50 to $300.

Which citation management software should I choose?

  • With so many options, the choice is yours! Some important points to consider are:
    • How much do you want to pay?
    • Are you willing to pay for an annual subscription or potential future upgrades?
    • Do you want to access the software from different computers?
    • Do you want the ability to use the software without an internet connection?
    • How many citations or PDFs are you planning to store?

How do I learn how to use my citation management software?

  • Each software will have tutorials and guides to help you learn your new product, and some will have additional customer support services. There is also a wealth of resources online to help you troubleshoot any potential problems.

Learn more about the four most popular citation management software options using the links above, or compare all of the options here.