Zotero vs Mendeley Comparison

Category Mendeley Zotero
Ease of Use & Basic Product Offerings
  • Easy to use
  • Includes a Desktop version and a web version compatible with all major web browsers

 

  • Easy to use
  • Work as a Firefox extension or as a standalone version with a connector to Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera
Installation Inf­ormation Includes clear instructions & video tutorials for installing and using Mendeley.

 

Basic Installation process:

Includes a comprehensive guide on how to install and use Zotero

 

Basic Installation process:

Cost
  • Basic software is free
  • Charges for adding additional storage space
Storage capabilities of free version
  • 2GB of cloud storage
  • You have to use Mendeley’s cloud storage in order to have a fully functioning account. However, 2GB should provide you with significant space for your collection.
  • 300MB of cloud storage
  • By not syncing your Zotero account, you can maintain a library of citations and documents on ONE computer without having to use Zotero’s cloud storage. However, once you sync your account with Zotero’s servers, the cloud storage limitations will activate.
Does it create in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies? Yes

  • There are free plugins for Word, LibreOffice, and BibTeX.
  • Once you have downloaded Mendeley, you can install the plugins from within the program.
Yes

How many citation styles does it support? Both Mendeley and Zotero use Citation Style Language, which offers over 7,000 free CSL citation styles.

 

Mendeley comes with some of the most popular citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago) and additional styles can be loaded. Additional styles can be installed from within the desktop client.

 

Instructions on editing a citation style can be found here.

Both Mendeley and Zotero use Citation Style Language, which offers over 7,000 free CSL citation styles.

 

 

Zotero comes with some of the most popular citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago) and additional styles can be downloaded from the Zotero Style Repository.

 

Instructions on editing a citation style can be found here.

Can I save citations while I browse databases? Yes

  • After you have installed the web importer bookmarklet on your web browser, you can save citation information for major databases (Works with major web browsers).
Yes

What kind of collaboration features does it offer? Free account:

  • Private groups or public invite-only groups: Users can only create 1 private group OR invite-only public group with 3 group members. Share documents and citations in private groups. Share citations in invite-only public groups.
  • Public groups: No limit to the amount of public groups that can be created. Share references only.
Users can create unlimited private or public groups and collaborate by sharing files and citations.

  • Private groups: can share documents and references with each other.
  • Public, closed membership groups: can share documents and references with each other.
  • Public, open membership groups: can share references, but not documents.
Can I save PDFs to my account? Yes

  • Drag and drop PDF files or entire folders of PDF documents into Mendeley.
  • Import from other citation management software.
  • More info
Yes

  • Automatically grab PDFs and relevant citation information from websites.
  • Drag and drop PDF files into the library.
  • More info
Extracts PDF metadata automatically? Yes

  • When you drag and drop PDFs or folders of PDFs, Mendeley will extract metadata such as the authors, title of the paper, and publication year.
  • More info
Yes

  • When you drag and drop PDFs or folders, Zotero will extract metadata such as authors, title of the paper, and publication year.
  • More info
What type of organization features does it offer?
  • You can create unlimited folders in Mendeley.
  • You can add tags to items and search using tags.
  • More info (click on “Organizing your library” video)
  • You can create unlimited folders (called collections).
  • You can add tags to items and search using tags.
  • More info
Can I add snapshots of web pages to my account? No

  • This feature used to be available, but no longer exists in current Mendeley versions.

Workaround

  • Create a PDF version of the webpage (either print to PDF or use other software).
  • Store the PDF and make annotations to it.
  • More info
Yes

Can I add notes to entries in my account? Yes

Yes

How well does it extract metadata from other types of resources automatically?

Ratings:

Very Good
Good
Adequate

York University catalogue records (Good)

  • Mendeley’s Web Importer Bookmarklet will import some metadata from York’s catalogue records, but may leave out information such as edition and publication city. *

Webpages (Adequate)

  • Mendeley will import some metadata from webpages, but you may have to go back and add in the author’s name, publication year, and other information. *

YouTube videos (Adequate)

  • Mendeley will import some metadata from YouTube videos, but you may have to go back and add in the author’s name, date it was posted, and other information. *

* Always double-check your entries to ensure that complete details about the item have been imported. Mendeley is excellent at capturing metadata from PDFs, but not as thorough with other sources.

York University catalogue records (Good)

  • Use the Zotero capture icons in your browser to import metadata from York’s catalogue records. Zotero may leave out information such as the publication city and edition *

Webpages (Good)

  • Zotero will import most of the metadata from webpages, but you may have to add or edit elements like publication date and author. *

YouTube videos (Very Good)

  • Zotero will import almost all of the metadata from YouTube videos. You may need to edit the information depending on the citation style you use. *

* Always double-check your entries to ensure that complete details about the item have been imported. Zotero is excellent at capturing metadata from PDFs, but not as thorough with other sources.

What type of internal search capabilities does it offer?
  • Allows quick searches of all content in your library, including all metadata fields such as author, title, and your item tags. More info
  • Users can create advanced searches using multiple filters and can save advanced searches.
  • Enabling fulltext PDF indexing allows text within saved PDFs in your Zotero library to be searched with quick search and advanced search.
Is there online support, such as a user forum? Yes

Yes

Will I have access to my account after I leave York? Yes

Yes

Security
  • Cloud storage is mandatory
  • Cloud data stored on US servers
  • Cloud storage is optional, as you can use Zotero without having to sync (however, it’s mandatory for collaboration)
  • Cloud data stored on US servers
Operating System Macintosh, Windows, Linux Macintosh, Windows, Linux and any others where Firefox runs.
Browser Compatibility Compatible with:

  • Internet Explorer 8-11
  • Firefox 6 and newer
  • Chrome 14 and newer
  • Safari 5 and newer

Need to have javascript and cookies enabled

Includes the following options:

  • Zotero for Firefox (uses a Firefox extension)
  • Zotero Standalone is a separate, browser independent application and extensions for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera can be installed.
Mobile Device Applications Third party apps for Apple and Android devices, with various prices

Adapted from the University of Toronto Libraries, Western Libraries, and University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries‘ citation manager comparison charts.