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Managing Writing Projects

A guide to managing writing projects


Citation managers aid in the gathering and organizing of research materials. Generally they are software installed on your computer, but accessible online or from other computers if you create an account. Two commonly-used ones are EndNote and Zotero. Endnote is available through Emory, while Zotero is free.

Both are fairly straightforward and easy to use; which one works best for you may come down to personal preference.

Citation Software Basics

Whichever software you are using for citation management, using the software can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Gathering
  2. Management
  3. Usage


1. Gathering

Once you have your preferred software set up, you can begin to gather your sources. You can do this manually by creating a new reference entry and filling out the fields, you can export citation data from most databases, or with Zotero and Endnote you can use their respective browser add-ons. While these add-ons will work with many sites, there are a few sources that are recommended:

Be sure to check your sources for accuracy after importing! While these add-ons will save you a lot of time, they may not import everything correctly. Check editors, translators, and other non-authors (such as author of an introduction or commentary) especially as these are often imported as authors.


2. Management

Once you have your sources, you can begin to organize them how you want. This can be done through using multiple libraries, sub-libraries (Zotero), tags (Zotero), groups (EndNote), or ratings (EndNote).

If you create an online profile with whatever program you are using, you will be able to access and manage your library online and from multiple computers. Be aware that with EndNote storing the library file (.enz file) online in any form may corrupt the library; if you want to have access to your EndNote library on multiple computers, create and online account and use the "Sync" feature (under preferences).


3. Usage

Once your sources are in your library how you'd like, you can then use them in your document. There are two ways to do this.

First, you can manually export your citations. Simply select whichever entries you would like to export and select "Create Bibliography from Items" (Zotero) or "Copy Formatted" (EndNote). Note this will only create a bibliography; you will still need to manually cite each source in the paper.

Second, both Zotero and EndNote have built-in functionality with several word processors that enables you to cite sources from your library. ​See the following table for compatability:

  Word LibreOffice Apache OpenOffice Google Docs
Zotero Yes Yes No Yes
EndNote Yes Yes Yes No

This feature will appear as a tab on the top navigation bar. These work slightly differently for Zotero and EndNote:


[Note: the following steps assume you are using Word; other word processors may differ slightly in available options and wording]


  • To add a citation simply click Add/Edit Citation.
    • The first time you do this in a document you will be prompted to select the citation style you want (MLA, Chicago, etc.).
    • Zotero assumes you will use the same citation style throughout so it won't prompt you again after your choice. If you need to change the style (e.g. to submit the same paper under different citation requirements), select Document Preferences and choose the new style. All existing citations will be updated automatically.
    • By default, a citation will only include the entry information--not the page number, section, etc. To add these, click the item after finding it in your library and add the missing information. Note the "Page" option is a drop-down menu and can be changed to section, paragraph, etc. as needed.
      • If you are citing additional information (e.g. Bekker numbers for Aristotle, GA volume for Heidegger), these can be added under "Prefix" or "Suffix." In either case be aware this will place the text entirely before or after, respectively, the citation itself.
  • When you are done with the document, clicking Add/Edit Citation will automatically import the bibliographic information from your library for every item you have cited in the document.
  • If you need to edit a library item, do this in Zotero. Never edit bibliographic information in your document! Any edits you make will not be saved to the library, so any time you use that citation again you will have to manually make those changes. Once you have made changes in Zotero, use the Refresh command to update your citations.
  • If, for whatever reason, you need to remove citations from your document, Unlink Citation will remove all Zotero connections in your document. This will not remove the citations themselves; any bibliographic information will be kept in the document. All that will change is the citation will no longer be linked to your library.


  • EndNote uses "Cite as You Write," which is functionally very similar to Zotero's citation system
  • EndNote allows you to import citations from your library through the Import Citation tool.
    • You can choose what and how you want to import items
  • The Edit & Manage Citation(s) tool allows you to see a list of all citations you have inserted in that document. You can also edit each one individually, see its information in your library, etc.
  • At any time you can change the citation style of your document from the Dropdown Style Menu
    • You will need to click Update Citation and Bibliography for this to take effect
    • If you have a document that uses Word's built-in citation system, you can convert it to EndNote with the Convert Citations and Bibliography tool. You can also use this tool to remove EndNote links and format citation as plain text.
  • Categorize References allows you to sort your bibliography according to groups. You might use this if you are, e.g., citing both original language works and translations.
  • Manuscript Matcher uses your citations along with your title and abstract to compare your work to existing publications. It then uses this to suggest possible journals for publication. Note that this only searches Web of Science, a collection of databases that is large but not comprehensive.


End​Note is a program that makes it possible to collect and organize references in a database and instantly create properly formatted bibliographies.


Zotero helps you collect, manage, and cite research sources. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies using Word or Open Office.

To expedite the process of citation, Zotero has a browser add-on that allows you to import citation data from websites with just one click.

Also see the box below for the handout accompanying the library's Introduction to Zotero workshops.

Zotero workshop handout

If you can't make it to a Zotero Introduction workshop, you may still benefit from one of these handouts.