Select the Citation Management Tool That Best Suits Your Needs: EndNote vs. Zotero

Citation management tools can greatly help researchers organize, store, and cite references, saving valuable time for your academic research.  This blog post will introduce two popular citation management tools, EndNote and Zotero, to provide you with some ideas so that you can select the one that best suits your learning and research needs. 

What is EndNote? 

EndNote, developed by Clarivate, is a comprehensive citation management software that simplifies the process of organizing, storing, and citing research materials. Current HKU staff and students can use EndNote for free both on campus and at home with a campus licence. Please view EndNote@HKU ( for more information. 

What is Zotero? 

Zotero is a free and open-source citation management tool designed to help you collect, organize, annotate, cite, and share research. With Zotero’s easy-to-use interface and functional browser extension Zotero Connector, Zotero efficiently manages your academic references. If Zotero is new to you, please take a look at our previous blog post:

EndNote@HKU vs. Zotero 

The following comparison table highlights the main features of EndNote@HKU and Zotero: 

 EndNote@HKU Zotero 
Access Free access for current HKU staff and students1Free access for all 
Storage Unlimited Free up to 300 MB (Purchase storage beyond 300 MB
Citation Importation – Direct import with Endnote Click
– Indirect import using RIS. file  
– Manual import 
– Direct import with Zotero Connector
– Indirect import using RIS. file  
– Manual import 
PDF Attachment YesYes
PDF Annotation YesYes
Word Processor – Cite While Your Write (CWYW)  
– Compatible with Word, Google Doc, Pages, OpenOffice 
– Zotero Plugins 
– Compatible with Word, Google Doc, LaTeX, OpenOffice, LibreOffice 
Shared Library Yes (Up to 1000 people) Yes (Unlimited collaborators) 

(Note 1: EndNote Basic, also known as EndNote Online Classic, is free for all with limited functions:

With the information mentioned above, we would like to advise you to use EndNote if you  

  1. need to store and organise large collections of citations. EndNote@HKU provides unlimited storage, making it preferable to researchers with extensive collections of reference materials that would require more than 300 MB of storage. Moreover, EndNote@HKU supports bulk update and bulk edit functions. These two functions are more efficient for managing a large number of items in your reference library. 
  2. prefer to look up references directly from within the citation management tool. The Online Search feature in EndNote@HKU enables users to search and retrieve references from various academic databases without leaving the EndNote library.   

However, you are advised to select Zotero as your citation management tool if you: 

  1. need citations for diverse types of sources. Zotero Connector can save citation information for a wide range of websites, e.g. electronic news, beyond academic publications and publisher websites. With just a click, Zotero Connector saves PDFs and citation data to your reference library.  
  2. conduct research with many collaborators. Zotero allows the creation of public and private groups. Public groups are visible to everyone, but only members or administrators can edit items in the reference library. Private groups maintain complete privacy, allowing only invited members or administrators to access or edit items.  
  3. are using Notion for personal knowledge management. Zotero can be synced with Notion to manage your reference library better with the Zotero plugin called Notero. If you already use Notion to note down and organize reference materials, you may consider integrating Zotero to create citations and references. 

Extended Readings  

For more information about EndNote/Zotero, check out our library guides and another blog post.  

  1. EndNote@HKU: 
  2. Zotero: Managing Research Materials in a Better Way: 
  3. User Guide to Notion for Education: