Reference management is systematically collecting and organising concrete sources and/or the bibliographic data ('references') of sources, usually to (re)use them at a later time.
Reference management tools help you in collecting and organising references.
Good reference management results in a more effective and efficient workflow.
There are more tools for managing your references
Below you will find the major characteristics of the four most well-known systems.
Whatever tool you select, you are not stuck with it forever. However, switching to another tool can cause some problems.
You can simply transfer your references to another system. But in the case of PDFs, notes and map structure you may enter some problems. It is advisable not to change from reference tool while working on a large paper or book. There is a big chance you will have to start again with including your literature references in the text.
The four major uses:
Useful help functions:
Tip 1. Always check if your references are imported correctly and completely in your reference tool. The sooner the better!
Incomplete references, or references in which the data are in the wrong place, result in inconsistencies or downright errors in your bibliography.
Tip 2. Remove duplicates before you start writing and citing
Use of duplicates lead to double entries in the bibliography.
Check how to deduplicate under the tabs for each system. (Please note: in Mendeley Reference Manager it is not (yet) possible to deduplicate)