Skip to main content

Psychology at Mat-Su College

A guide for MSC psychology courses.

Online tools for citation

There are many online tools that might make citing sources easier for you. This page introduces some of them.

The "Cite" button in various databases

Most databases have a simple way to generate a citation for an article you're looking at.

Generally, you'll want to look around for a button that says "Cite."

Here's how it looks in Academic Search Premier and other EBSCOHost databases.

First, in your search results, click on the title of the article you want to cite. In the detailed record for that article, click the button that says "Cite":

The "Cite" button in Academic Search Premier

What is a citation manager?

A citation manager is a tool that stores details about the articles you plan to use in your paper. This usually means that for each source, you enter into the citation manager details such as the author's name, the title of the article, and so on. This doesn't sound very convenient, does it -- after all, you're already going to have to do this, right?

Citation managers make things easier on you in two ways.

First, you don't need to worry about the formatting of the works cited page. You just type in the information you're prompted for (see the screenshot of Zotero below) and the citation manager handles arranging and styling all that information.

Screenshot of Zotero

The second way a citation manager simplifies things is that you it can store the details about the sources you've used. If you plan to write many papers about a topic, it can be helpful to have all those details in one tool, so that you can easily create a new works cited page just by clicking a few buttons.

A downside to a citation manager is that it is another tool to learn. It can take time. I would recommend only using a citation management tool if...

  • You want to keep track of the articles, books, and other sources you have read, maybe because you plan to write more papers on the topic.
  • You need to cite very many sources for a single paper.

Read below for more information on available citation managers.

Some free citation managers

Read below for more information on some free citation managers.

  • Mendeley is a free, powerful citation manager that you install on your computer. I like that Mendeley includes a built-in PDF reader with a highlighting function. Mendeley is useful for generating citations and for storing your articles and notes. It's really an all-around research manager.
  • RefWorks is a common citation manager. Many databases can automatically export citations to it. Because it is often recommended by University of Alaska Anchorage librarians, there is a separate section below that details how to create an account and links to help on using RefWorks.
  • Zotero is a free, open source citation manager. It works as a desktop application you install on a computer, a browser extension, or as a website.
  • ZoteroBib is a basic, web-based tool to manually or automatically create citations. Best suited for basic needs.


RefWorks is a very powerful citation management tool. With a single click, you can export citations from databases into RefWorks. With another click you can have RefWorks generate an entire bibliography page for you. Using theWrite-n-Cite plugin, you can also use RefWorks to handle your in-text citations and bibliography page.

Since RefWorks is yet another service that the library pays for on your behalf, you should always access RefWorks through the library website.

To sign up for RefWorks, click "Citing Sources" on the library website:

Screenshot with 'Citing Sources' button highlighted and pointed to

Next, follow the instructions to access an existing account, or to create a new one:

Screenshot of the Refworks section of the "Citing sources" page on MSC Library site

Once you've registered your RefWorks account, you can begin using RefWorks to collect citations and generate bibliographies. Since RefWorks is such a powerful tool I strongly encourage you to watch the training videos.

You can also contact the library for a one-on-one training session.