1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 0.00 (0 Votes)

BMS (Bibliographic Management Software) allows users to create and track citations (references) and bibliographies (or reference) lists that are formatted in reference styles such as MLA, Chicago, APA or Turabian.

With BMS, you can simultaneously import some records from the databases including PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science. You may add keywords, abstracts and other functions that help to enhance and improve efficiency for the project.

History of BMS

Thomson Reuters sold the first reference management software package called Reference Manager. It was the first commercial software for this kind of function. The original Reference Manager developer was Ernest Beutler and Earl Beutler, his son, in 1982 through their company called Research Information Systems. The software was for CP/M operating system. It was later ported to DOS, MS Windows, and Apple Macintosh.

Reuters abandoned developing the Reference Manager in 2008 and discontinued the sales in December 2015 to concentrate on Endnote, a competing BMS.

Common users of Reference Manager are people who want to share a central database of references, and they need to work with multiple users who add and edit records simultaneously. With this software, you can specify read-only or the edit rights to a database for each user.

Who uses BMS?

Bibliographic Management Software is a technology mostly for use by scholars and researchers to help them perform these two primary functions:

  • Create databases for bibliographic citations
  • Produce bibliographies that a user can easily insert into word processing documents when referencing academic papers, books, etc.

A user may create citations within the software itself or download from the online bibliographic systems.

Advantages of BMS

To avoid plagiarism and honor intellectual integrity, you should always cite the authority to any work which is not your original creation or writing in a footnote or bibliographical reference. You have to cite the source after quoting passages, figures, illustrations, graphic images and so on. The style manual you use provides guidelines on citing electronic sources. It takes a lot of time and concentration for you to get the formatting right. Wrong referencing may cost you a good grade for your academic paper.BMS will help you to locate, manage, apply and recall the citations that you retrieve from various formats of work you can cite from including:

  • Journals
  • Book chapters
  • Articles
  • Patents
  • Conference papers and proceedings
  • Lectures
  • Edited volumes

BMS will hasten your referencing process and also help you to achieve the following:

  • Create bibliographies and references automatically
  • Reduce likelihood of duplicating citations by removing the repetitions
  • Repurpose or re-use your content over time
  • Create your critical abstracts that are part of production for your work
  • Embed footnotes, endnotes within the text citations
  • Search and organize your database of references in the order that you will use them
  • Collect quotations and references fast and completely
  • Maintain overview of references
  • Edit, arrange, evaluate bibliographic data, quotations, and annotations fast with full access every time
  • Add sources correctly to the academic papers

When you use a BMS, you have to choose the formatting style for your bibliography according to citation style specified by your instructor. The purpose of all BMS tools is to help you in organizing your research references. They include a plug-in for the word processing programs for formatting citations and creating bibliographies. Some of the tools may offer additional features such as web-based interface, collaboration, and mobile applications.

Different types of BMSassist in managing citation, referencing and preparing bibliographies. The most prominent packages in today’s market are:


EndNote is desktop software that helps in organizing, storing and managing references. It automatically creates bibliographies and imports references directly from databases or library catalogs. It is available in these three versions.

EndNote Basic

EndNote is a free basic BMS web version that gives users a tool for learning the way to research or cite their sources, write academic papers and match manuscripts to scientific journals. When using EndNote, you do the following:

  • Create your online account that you use to search, use and save research sources
  • Search most popular databases using built-in connections
  • Save and organize references that your find. You can work with up to 50,000.
  • Integrate MS Word to cite and format your academic paper correctly
  • Choose from most popular bibliography formats including APA and MLA
  • Use a manuscript matcher to identify the best journals to publish your research

Other versions of EndNote are:

EndnNote X8

A powerful research and reference manager that helps you to work from only one library with up to 100 more people from any locations or organization. It sorts long papers in seconds. Within a few seconds, you can search full actress text in journal articles, attachments, reference metadata, personal annotations and notes for you to locate a specific research. EndNote X8 also helps users to:

  • Overcome research limitations by sharing many references, files and documents as they need for one upfront price
  • Initiate a search for the full-text PDFs across free and subscription sources and after finding material, it automatically attached to your references.
  • Cite your sources right the first time by inserting citations and references from EndNote library into the manuscript and build a bibliography automatically in more 6,000 styles from MS Word.

EndNote for iPad

A perfect alternative to EndNote online and desktop with redesigned interface and advanced PDF functionality. You can use this EndNote BMS format to make PDF annotations directly within an app then access and edit from your online or desktop account. Standard PDF annotations sync with all the other EndNote platforms and you can create/edit them from anywhere.


RefWorks is a web-based database manager and web-based bibliography allowing users to create a personal and searchable database of citations. You can format these citations into MS Word documents as footnotes or custom bibliography. Since it is web-based in its entirety, the bibliographic records are on the web giving you access to bibliographies from PC, UNIX or Mac which is impossible when you just use your computer. All you need to access these many bibliographical records is the internet. Remember to back up your files for safety.

RefWorks is also available on a mobile platform. The release of "latest" RefWorks platform was on January 18, 2016. The existing (legacy) RefWorks platform is not affected. You may create new accounts and existing accounts will stay. New RefWorks will receive updates into 2017 to add features only in the current version that provide ability to:

  • Create multiple accounts
  • Attach image
  • Attach image, audio, and video
  • Attach multiple files to records
  • Browse and search indexes for the author, descriptor or periodic title
  • Apply global edits
  • De-duplicate on importing

New RefWorks also has some features that do not exist in the current (legacy) RefWorks expected to retire 2018.

  • Drag and drop pdf uploading
  • Tools for pdf notes
  • Concurrent group document editing
  • Google Docs add-in so as to complement Word add-in
  • Ability to save WebPages in a distraction free mode that does not require navigation or ads


Zotero 4.0 is web-based and an open-source citation management tool. It is designed for storing, managing and citing bibliographic references like articles and books. Each of the references in Zotero constitutes an item. Zotero works well with a broad range of elements such as:

  • Articles
  • Books
  • Documents
  • Web pages
  • Films
  • Bills
  • Sound recordings
  • Statutes

There are two Zotero options available:

Zotero for Firefox:

Firefox browser extension

Zotero Standalone:

Desktop application integrates with Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari. It does not have integrated features of Zotero for FireFox. It is available with the basic features of free and fee structure for extra storage. Zotero automatically senses the content in your web browser, and you can add it to your personal library with a click. Zotero will have you covered with support for thousands of websites whether you are searching for a journal article from JSTOR, preprint on arXiv.org, news story from a newspaper or book from University library catalog.

Storage capacity

With Zotero, you can collect all the research in one single searchable interface. You may add PDFs, audio, video files, images and web page snapshots or anything else. It automatically indexes your full-text of your library and enables you to find what you are searching for with a few keystrokes.


Mendeley is one of the free reference managers and also an academic, social network that helps in indexing and organizing research library into a digital bibliography. It has 1GB Web space (500 MB is personal, and 500 MB is shared). You can upgrade the web space at a fee. This program has a collaboration component that enables you to share your citations with other researchers. Through this collaboration, you also find the latest research. Mendeley is both a web-based and desktop application. It works with Firefox, Safari, Chrome and IE. It is fully compatible with Windows Word, 2007, 2010 and 2013. You can also use it with Mac Word 2011, BibTeX and LibreOffice.

After downloading Mendeley reference manager, you can install Word Plugin in just 3 clicks it is ready to create a bibliography.

Mendeley enables you to do the following:

  • Cite thousand of journals. Quickly search and select a citation style from the community managed databases or use new CSL editor to create new styles
  • Quote effortlessly according to your style without leaving out any words
  • Generate bibliographies automatically
  • Format your paper in a flexible way. You can focus on writing the paper and Mendeley will work on the bibliographical details such as hanging indents, author disambiguation and use of the "Ibid."
  • Share bibliographies with peers through your private group. Any member of the group may edit or add cited references.
  • With an iPhone app, you can access papers online from any point
  • Put metadata from PDFs and manage them


RefME is a free tool for creating footnotes, citations, and bibliographies within seconds saving students valuable time and marks. With RefME, you can create references for any source in more than 7,500 referencing styles including the popular ones like Harvard, APA, and MLA.

RefMe is a multi-purpose tool that you can use to do all the following:

  • Collect research
  • Gather research material from the web in the library or at home. Through your RefME account, you can access sources stores in Cloud from anywhere.
  • Reference from the browser
  • RefME for Chrome allows you to reference articles, web pages, videos, and books directly from the browser when researching online. You can add quotes to your reference by highlighting text to the web page.
  • Manage references
  • Organize and manage references efficiently using the project to place them in easy to access group from any mobile device such as PC, tablet or phone and share the project with members of your team.
  • You can scan journal barcodes or book using and Android app or iOS app. With a Smartphone, you can use the camera to turn the printed text to digital text and save it as a quote.

Tips To Choose a Good BMS

Now that there is all this choice, you need to make a decision on the BMS to use when you start writing your project so that you do not take long to cite and reference.

These tips will help you in deciding about the most efficient tool for your bibliographical needs.

  • Search with Google. Type the name of BMS followed by forum or review. Look at the kind of results it generates.
  • Type the reference manager’s name into YouTube and check if there are how-to videos. If there are many of them, it is a good sign but if there are none, just forget about it.
  • Look at the screenshots of the individual website reference managers and decide if you like what is on display. It is a bad sign if there are no screen shots or a video tour. The BMS may be outdated.
  • Ask peers in your group about the BMS they use. If everyone in your department uses the same reference manager, it might be a good idea to choose the same unless you have a good reason for picking another.
  • Compatibility: This is a crucial decision factor as not all the BMS are compatible with every operating system. Narrow down to those the software that is compatible with the operating systems you use.
  • Check the Social Media pages. Search whether the reference manager you are researching about has a Twitter or other social media page. An active account is a sign of being sensitive and responsive to feedback from current users.

After reading the reviews of various Bibliography Management Software and tips on making your choice, you will find the right one for your referencing needs.

Get more help on our Academic paper writing service page.