AI Tools That Can Help You Manage Your References


9th February 2024

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When sending feedback on work you completed, supervisors will often mention you have not cited or referenced sources correctly. If you struggle to get your references right, AI can be of great help. By handling your references and making sure they are accurate and consistent, AI can save you a bunch of time. This blog introduces you to two AI tools that can help you manage your references while editing papers and make your life easier. The two tools, called Cite This For Me and Zotero, work differently and have their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Cite This For Me

Cite This For Me can be accessed and used on the web, without having to download an external app. This makes it pretty straightforward to use. The process of generating references is as follows. You will need to locate the DOI of a book or a paper you wish to reference and paste it into the tool. You can also produce an automatic reference for a website by simply pasting the link. Once you provide the DOI or the link, you will be able to select a referencing style of your choice, such as APA, Harvard, or Vancouver. The reference will then be ready, so you can just paste it into your reference list.

However, although easy to use, Cite This For Me generates only one reference at a time. This means you will have to repeat the entire process for each of your references in order to compile the whole reference list. This could seem somewhat boring and daunting – yet, you will not need to spend time figuring out how to use the tool. That is precisely because the tool is so simple. 


Unlike Cite This For Me, Zotero requires you to download an app on your computer. The app can be installed on both Windows and Mac operating systems, allowing you to access the full range of its features directly from your desktop. Once installed, Zotero offers a more integrated experience in managing references and citations. The process of generating references involves adding sources directly to your Zotero library, which eliminates the need to manually input DOIs or links. You can add the sources in three different ways:

  1. by using a Zotero Connector browser extension and importing a source from a website
  2. by importing the source from your computer
  3. by manually entering the details of the source

Zotero supports a variety of sources, including books, articles, websites, and more. You can organise your sources into folders and collections within the Zotero interface. The advantage here is that you can generate multiple references simultaneously and compile an entire reference list automatically. However, Zotero is not as easy to use as Cite This For Me and will require you to read through the manual in order to learn how to operate it. 

Takeaway message

Whether you will work better in Cite This For Me or Zotero is up to you and your personal preferences. In both cases, you will need to spend some time engaging with the tools. In the case of Cite This For Me, you will need to generate each reference separately; and in the case of Zotero, you will need to learn how to use the tool effectively. Still, using either of these tools will be faster than generating your whole reference list manually. For this reason, both tools can be a great aid when editing academic essays, dissertations, and other types of academic work.