Reference management: Reference management systems

Reference management systems

There is a great number of different reference management systems available. Some of them can be used free of charge and some require a license. You can read more about them e.g. in this Wikipedia article.

Laurea Library does not have a license to any commercial reference management system since ending the contract with RefWorks 31.12.2021. Library offers instructions on how to use free Zotero reference management tool.



  • Zotero is free to use and based on open source code
  • Zotero is available for desktop and/or browser based use
  • Desktop version saves your references to your computer and you can use your references offline. Creating a Zotero account is not necessary.
  • Browser based use requires creating a Zotero account. References will be saved in Zotero's cloud in USA.
  • By synchronizing the desktop version to your Zotero account, your references will be saved both to your computer and in Zotero's cloud in USA.
  • Zotero account is needed if you wish to share your references with other users
  • Zotero integrates to word processors (MS Word, LibreOffice, Google Docs)
  • There a more than 9000 reference styles available.


  • Zotero Privacy Policy
  • If you create a Zotero account, note that your data will be saved to a server in USA where EU GDPR regulation does not apply. Avoid saving sensitive data to Zotero.

Zotero installing & account

Installing Zotero & creating an account

  • Laurea staff can install Zotero desktop version to Laurea's computers from Laurea SoftWare Center.
  • To a private computer Zotero can be downloaded from
  • During the Zotero download an extension will normally be automatically added to your word processor. If this doesn't happen, you can download the extension later manually from Zotero homepage
  • Create an account, if you want to use Zotero online. Account is also needed if you want to share references with other Zotero users.
  • If you use both desktop version and browser version, synchronize them in the desktop version. Choose EditPreferencesSync Settings. Add Username and Password and choose Sync automatically.
  • Optional. Zotero Connector is a useful browser extension that helps you to import references directly from webpages and library catalogues. If you like, you can download it to your browser from Zotero homepage.

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