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Research Skills: Reference management software

A guide to help you improve your research skills: make the most of your time to find and retrieve the information you need.

Reference Management Software - Overview

This guide provides guidance for students and staff on the use of Reference Management Software such as Endnote. These tools can help you to:

  1. Collect and Store your references in a single place (a desktop or online account).
  2. Organise your references to match your publications or thesis
    • For example: From a complete reference library of everything you have read, create collections of those relevant to a particular article you intend to publish, or a particular chapter of your thesis.
  3. Attach notes and full text documents to your references for easy retrieval.
  4. Semi-automate the inclusion of in-text citationsfootnotes and endnotes in your work.
  5. Create a bibliography or reference list at the touch of a button, from one of thousands of possible referencing styles, and switch between referencing styles instantly without needing to re-format or re-type your references manually.
  6. De-duplicate references where you have searched across multiple databases and search engines, which can be incredibly useful for systematic reviews as well as general research practice.

EndNote Desktop

Endnote (desktop)

The University provides access to a desktop version of Endnote through both the managed desktop service (on campus) or through a licence to install Endnote on your own personal device.

Getting your own copy of Endnote

Instructions on how to obtain a free copy of the licence for use on personal devices at home are as follows:

  • Click the following link to the self-service website
  • On the right hand side menu there will be a new option for "Endnote Software Request", review the agreement and submit your request.

The Service Desk will then send you an email with a link to download the software using the licence key.

Additional Support

You can find support for Endnote as below:

The University also an Introductory workshop on using Endnote, as well as drop-in sessions to help with any problems you encounter and additional online guidance through the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD).

OSCOLA guidance

OSCOLA referencing style guidance

For those using the OSCOLA referencing style, you may find the links below offer further guidance:

EndNote Web

Endnote Online Logo

Endnote Online

Durham students and staff have access to Endnote Online accessible via our Web of Science subscription

Clarivate Analytics have provided a recording of a 1 hour workshop showing the main features of Endnote Online, and how to sync with a desktop version of Endnote, below:

Additional guidance for Endnote Online can be found at:


Mendeley Logo


Mendeley is a free reference management software platform, and more, provided by academic publisher Elsevier.

You can download a desktop version of Mendeley for Windows, Mac or Linux, or download an app for iPhone or iPad from the iTunes App Store.


Zotero logo


Zotero is freely available and user-friendly.

Other tools

Other Reference Management Software

There are many other options available to you as a researcher to assist in managing your reference collection as it grows. Some options are free, and some will require a subscription or purchase of a licence.

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