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Referencing: Alternative Referencing Software


We know students who love Mendeley and it works really well, particularly if you want to store pdfs.

To avoid confusion we have our ITS Harvard style in EndNote and it works very well with our databases. 

This is why we concentrate our support on EndNote users. You cannot have both installed on your pc - they conflict with each other in word.

Alternative Referencing Software

Zotero is a free, open source, web-based tool for managing citations, organizing pdfs and creating bibliographics.  Self-guided instruction in the form of tutorials, FAQs and help are available.

Mendeley is a free, web-based tool for managing references, creating bibliographies and managing pdfs.  Self-guided instruction in the form of tutorials, FAQs and help are available throught Mendelay.


You have begun your thesis or dissertation and have a large number of  PDF's of articles in a folder on your pc or pen drive, but have no referencing done. Sound familiar? It's more common than you think!! We have come up with a workaround that might help. If anyone wants a tutorial or face to face help on this just email us and we will arrange an appointment with you. 

Step 1. Register with, download and install Mendeley. 

Go to and create a free account (2GB of space is free). Download and install the Mendeley software (the link is at the bottom of the Mendeley website)

Step 2. Import your documents into Mendeley

Open the Folder the documents are in, and drag all your PDF's into the Mendeley window. See the video below for more info on this process.


Once you click sync in Mendeley desktop and login , your papers will also be stored in Mendeley online (up to 2 GB worth of storage space is free)

Mendeley automatically searches the internet and finds citation details for your papers. Double check the citation information and type in any missing data before you export for endnote basic. See the video below of us importing papers  into Mendeley and editing any errors.

Step 3. Export to computer

Once you have your papers imported and have double checked the accuracy, just

  • select all your papers (only ones you have selected will be exported)
  • Click File
  • click export and in the popup window that appears select  the location (for example desktop) where you want to save the file. 
  • Make sure you select RIS as the file type
  • save the RIS file to your pc

Step 4. Import into Endnote Basic

  • If you have the Endnote plugin installed all you have to do is double click on the RIS file you just created, and a popup menu will appear asking you to input your Endnote Basic login details.
  • The Mendeley citations will then be all imported into Endnote Basic.

Step 5. Start using the Endnote Plugin for Word to correct and add your citations in your theses.

Help on using the Endnote Basic  plugin in word:

How to import the citations in the RIS file to Endnote Basic If you do not have the Endnote Basic plugin installed:

  • open Endnote Basic, click collect and then click import references 
  • Choose your file from the desktop or wherever you saved it
  • for import option choose Refman RIS and then click import.

More help on Mendeley