Studying Effectively

Managing references

There are many ways that you can organise your references.

Some people use cards to record individual references and store these in a card index. Or you could just create a word document or excel spreadsheet with details of the references.

Alternatively, commercial Reference Management Software (RMS) packages are available, designed specifically to help you store and organise the references you find through your literature searches. At the University of Nottingham we subscribe to EndNote Desktop and EndNote Online (the web version).

Both EndNote packages enable you to import references directly from a wide range of bibliographic databases as you search, or you can add references manually.

They also interact with Microsoft Word, to help you create accurate and consistent citations and bibliographies in a specific referencing style, such as Author and Date (e.g. Harvard) or Numeric (e.g. Vancouver). 

Using EndNote Desktop

You can access EndNote Desktop on any University of Nottingham PC and create your own personal library. Alternatively, you can download the EndNote Desktop software to your own device from the University's Software Library for use both on and off campus.

We recommend you also register for an EndNote Online account at the same time to ensure your EndNote Desktop library is backed up.

The guides to Creating and Saving EndNote Desktop Libraries (pdf) and Using EndNote Desktop will help you get started.

Using EndNote Desktop

Further information on Managing your EndNote Desktop Library.

Using EndNote Online

EndNote Online has been designed with undergraduate students in mind and you may find it useful to explore this product in more detail. It is a web-based version of EndNote Desktop and allows free off campus access.

To ensure the full functionality of EndNote Online you should create your account through EndNote Desktop. You can do this on campus on any University of Nottingham PC. Alternatively, you can download the EndNote Desktop software to your own device from the University's Software Library, and create your EndNote Online account from there.

The guide to Creating and Saving EndNote Desktop Libraries (pdf) will help you to set up an EndNote Online account

As soon as you are registered, you can access your EndNote Online account from wherever you are.

Using EndNote Online

Further help with using EndNote Online is available in the EndNote Online quick reference guide (pdf) and on the EndNote Online help pages.

Open source Reference Management Software (RMS) packages

Alternatively, you may want to explore an open source RMS package instead.  These are all freely available on the web and you can quickly and easily set up your own accounts. They include:

User guides are available on all packages to help you get started.

Managing references


Quick links

Further reading

EndNote resources

More help with referencing

  • Referencing and bibliographies

Reading and interpreting sources and data


People who can help

Talk to someone in your school or a specialist support service


Studying Effectively

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Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3666
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