A citation manager helps you keep track of articles, books and other materials, as you find them. They can be used to generate in-line citations and bibliographies in a wide variety of citation styles in Microsoft Word, and some in Open Office as well. Some allow you to manage, tag, and annotate PDF's as well as share and collaborate with groups online. Each manager also has built-in connections to Google Scholar and common library databases.
Note: NDSU Libraries currently offers user support for three popular citation management tools: EndNote Online, Mendeley, and Zotero. This support does not represent an endorsement. There are other good, free citation managers online. Which one you choose should depend on your needs and preferences. In particular, you may want to use the same manager as your research group or department.
EndNote Online: This manager works well for very large collections of citations and seamlessly with Web of Science. Its interface with Microsoft Word is a bit clunky and it is not a good option for managing PDFs. NDSU has a subscription to it and it can be accessed through the Libraries' website.
Mendeley: This manger is cloud based with a desktop client. It is easy to manage, share, and annotate PDFs but often struggles to extract complete citation information. It has a strong collaborative, social-networking component.
Zotero: This manager works particularly well for picking up citation information off of websites and other online content including screenshots. It is an open-source software program and also allows for the management and tagging of PDFs and other digital materials.