University Library

How to Organize References and Knowledge

What do reference management programs offer?

Reference management programs can help you (depending on the program):

  • Clearly organize and sort your references from library catalogs and databases
  • Quickly and easily cite in your texts
  • Quickly and easily compile and export a bibliography
  • Format references in your preferred citation style
  • Easily coordinate work in teams
  • Create and organize notes, excerpts, and categories for your references

The University Library’s Knowledge Portal Primo supports downloading search results using the RIS format. This enables a convenient export of bibliographic data into common reference management programs.

Video: Organizing literature efficiently

This video describes how reference management systems can help organize the literature research process.

Video by: Economics and Management Library

Duration: 3:27 min

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Video: From Citavi to Zotero - Keeping track in the chaos of literature (German only)

In this video we explain what reference management programs are and compare Citavi and Zotero.

Language: German, english subtitles available
Duration: 10:43 min

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Overview of Selected Reference Management Programs

SystemFeaturesRequirements for useCostCourses of the University Library
CitaviProgram: Local system (single user) and web-based, projects: can be saved locally and in the cloud, easy to use, advanced features, easy integration into Word Focus: reference management, knowledge organizationDesktop version: Windows only, web version: platform-independentFull version free for TU members (Campus licence)Courses for beginners and advanced
ZoteroLocal (single user) and web-based, Easy to use, Different apps & tools via APIWindows, Mac, Linux Web: platform independentDesktop version: Free of charge, Web version: first 300MB of file storage free (PDFs etc.), additional free storage via tubCloudCourses for Zotero
EndNoteLocal (single user) and web-based, streamlined, relatively technical, Collaboration possible using Endnote OnlineWindows, Mac. Endnote Online/Basic: platform independentFull version: reduced price for TU units. Student price (price list).
Endnote Basic: free of charge, advanced functions available to TU members
MendeleyLocal (single user) and web-based, Integrated reference management and academic network (with focus on the natural sciences), Different apps & tools via APIWindows, Mac, Linux. Web version: platform independentDesktop version: free of charge Web version: first 2 GB free 
JabRefLocal (single user) and web-based, Easy collaboration with different LaTeX editors, Allows you to keep track of what you read and assign ranking, relevance, and priority values, Collaboration only possible via a joint SQL databaseWindows, Mac, Linux Web version: platform independentFree of charge 

Reference Management Software: Informations for TU Members


Citavi is a windows-based software for reference management and knowledge organization. TU members can use citavi free of charge. Instructions and hints can be found here.


Zotero is a free reference management tool. It can be used as a standalone version on your computer and additionally after registration in the browser.


EndNote, a reference management software, offers a number of features and is available both as a desktop and web version. Members of TU Berlin can purchase EndNote at a reduced price.

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