Medical Laboratory Science

Library of the Health Sciences


Welcome to the Citation Styles LibGuide for the UND Library of the Health Sciences.  This guide is designed to direct you to authoritative online and print resources that will help you format your references.  Here you will find information about the three citation styles most widely used in the health sciences: AMA, APA and Vancouver.  You will also find a section about using citation management software to store and organize your references.

Please feel free to contact the library if you would like additional help.

Citation Management Software

Citation Management Software

Eventually your research will require that you keep track of many citations on one or more topics.  At that point, you should consider using a citation management software to help you format and organize your references.

Here is a detailed comparison (Wikipedia) of the various programs on the market.

Which one should you use?

There are lots of programs on the market, both free and subscription-based.  You may already be using one and not realize it.  Do you use CiteULike, BibMe or Zotero?  Those are examples of free web-based citation managers.  The best choice for you depends on the project you are working on. At the Library of the Health Sciences, we don't have a specific tool to recommend, but are happy to support users on the tool they select. Here are some questions to consider as you decide which program best fits your needs. You can find answers to most of these questions on the Wikipedia comparison or the Quick comparison charts linked above.

Are you collaborating with another individual or group that already is using a citation manager?
If so, it may be best to use whatever software they use instead of spending time trying to get various software to play well together.

How many citations do you want to organize?
Free software (Mendeley, Zotero, etc.) usually has storage limits, while licensed software (RefWorks, EndNote, etc.) offers more or limitless capacity.

Do you want software that will be available over time regardless of your status as a student, employee, or health professional?
If so, you may want to choose free software (EndNote Basic, Mendeley, Zotero, etc.) or software you will have access to after graduation. Two possible downsides of free software are one, will the software be maintained and updated over time and two, will it remain free? Usually you can export citations and switch to another program, but that requires time and effort.

What databases do you typically search, and what options for direct exporting (automatically adding) citations are offered?
Most databases allow saving citations to a file that can be imported into various software, but some provide direct exporting. This is preferred whenever possible as it saves time and reduces the chance of errors.

Does the citation management software work with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or whatever word processing software you will be using?

What citation styles do you need for formatting references and can you change citation styles quickly and easily as needed?
Most widely used software including RefWorks, EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, etc. includes thousands of citation styles. However, styles for specific journals may not be included in all programs; consider what citation styles you may need and then check to see if those are included.

Citation Manager Comparison