Bibliographic management

A research thesis demands that you read and record a great deal of information in print and electronic form. As you progress through your research, you will gather hundreds or even thousands of references that you will need to cite and acknowledge in your writing. You must have a system to record, store and easily retrieve these references, and it is important that you establish this system early in your research.

Bibliographic management tools are designed to assist researchers to track and recall references to relevant literature. Most bibliographic management tools also allow you to automate in-text citations and automatically populate a bibliography at the end of your document. Correctly using a bibliographic management tool will save you a significant amount of time with writing your thesis, and formatting papers for publication. This section introduces you to common bibliographic management tools.

Bibliographic management software Top

Certain bibliographic management tools are more appropriate for specific research needs. There are a range of web-based open source tools; some will also provide mobile interfaces. Most of the common tools will allow you to save, share and access your reference lists on multiple platforms and devices. QUT Library has a guide to bibliographic management software that discusses many other programs including Zotero and Mendeley. Wikipedia also has a comparison entry on the major different software available, including Papers, RefWorks and CiteULike. Two of the most commonly used tools at QUT are EndNote and BibTeX.


QUT has an institutional licence for EndNote. This licence permits current staff and students to download the software to personal computers and devices and to use the software at university, the workplace and at home. EndNote works with MS Word.

Endnote is fully supported at QUT. QUT Library conducts workshops throughout the year, and your Liaison Librarians can provide individual assistance with setting up your Endnote library. The QUT IT Helpdesk provides assistance with installation and technical issues, and Information Technology Services (ITS) offer advanced MS Word courses for research students who are writing a thesis.

To use Endnote:

Activity - use a bibliographic management tool to start a library Top

Decide what bibliographic management tool to use. If you already know what you want to use or are already using one that you are happy with, go to step 5. Otherwise, follow the process below:

  1. Find out what your supervisor or research student peers use to manage their references.
  2. Ask them why they use that particular tool and see if it matches your own needs.
  3. Refer to QUT Library's guide to referencing software.
  4. Install the bibliographic management tool you have chosen.
  5. Import references into your bibliographic management tool to create a reference database.
  6. Choose the bibliographic referencing style appropriate to your thesis.

Insert an in-text citation with your bibliographic management tool.

Watch the video: EndNote X7 Overview (YouTube video, 3m55s)


  • BibTeX is used by researchers in science and engineering as it is tailored to capture references involving complex mathematical formula. While BibTeX synchronises with the LaTex word processing software, there are plug-ins available for Microsoft Word.