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Chemical & Materials Engineering

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools allow you to download, organize, and share references. Some have greater capabilities that allow you to attach PDFs or work with your word processing system and google doc to format papers properly, including formatting bibliographies in multiple styles. Below are a selection of subscription-based and free citation management tools.

Citation Managers offer a more comprehensive look at Zotero and PaperPile.


Paperpile is a web-based reference citation management system, with emphasis on integration with Google apps.

Getting Started:
~Select the Start Free Trial option. You will need to login with your SJSU email address.
~Next,  go to Settings > Account info  and click on "Activate site license"
~Enter your SJSU email address, and then click the activation link you will receive via email.


Endnote is an online bibliographic management tools often used in engineering and data sciences. You can create an account through SJSU Library’s subscription to Web of Science. This is a premium account that grants access to Web of Science and up to 1 million references. The online account works as a citation library. Software is available for your desktop and offers greater capabilities. See the EndNote libguide 


BibTex is reference management software typically used together with the LaTeX typesetting system for documentation and bibliography creation. EndNote, RefWorks and OneSearch have BibTeX output style.


Overleaf is a free collaborative cloud-based LaTeX editor used for writing and editing technical publications.  Subscription-based plans with greater capability are available. Learn more about LaTeX and reference managers with Overleaf.

Other citation management tools with free versions are Mendeley, and Zotero,



Why do we use sources and cite them?
Builds credibility and authority as a writer by showing we have done our background work and learned about our topic. Connects our writing to bigger topics in the field. Allows readers to find our good sources.

Plagiarism: Using people’s words and/or ideas without giving credit or misrepresenting their ideas in our writing.

Paraphrasing: Rephrasing other’s ideas while giving credit and adding analysis or combining it with other sources.

When does something stop being plagiarism and start being paraphrasing?

Pitfalls between plagiarism and paraphrasing Steps to paraphrase
Only switching words for synonyms Carefully read the text
Keeping mostly the same idea order Take notes
Keeping mostly the same sentence structure Turn the paper over, write using your notes
Summarizing ideas with no citations   Combine information with other sources using quotation and add your own analysis
Copying phrases directly without both quotation marks and citing Cite your source
Misrepresenting information  Make sure the reader is able to identify borrowed ideas and your interpretation/analysis

Example Quote from a Source:

Smart objects provide a distributed architectural model for the Internet of Things. Due to their dual nature as physical and digital entities, such objects highlight the fact that the Internet of Things can’t be viewed only as a technical system but must also be considered as a human-centered interactive one. This implies that we must expand smart-object design beyond hardware and software to include interaction design as well as social aspects” (Kortuem, Kawsar, and Fitton, 2010, 46).

Kortuem, G., Kawsar, F., & Fitton, D. (2010). Smart objects as building blocks for the internet of things. IEEE Computer Society 12(1), 44-51.


Smart objects have two natures, both as physical and digital entities; such objects show why the Internet of Things is not only a technical system but must also be considered a human system. This implies that we must expand smart-object design to include hardware, software, and social aspects in recognizing the distributed architectural model of the Internet of Things.

  1. Only shuffles the idea order slightly.         3. Mostly just uses synonyms.          5. Does not cite.
  2. Has almost identical sentence structure.    4. Uses some exact phrasing.


Koretuem et al (2010) highlights how with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), designers can no longer simply just think about the technical aspects. Smart objects blend together people’s physical and digital lives, which makes the interaction point between human and machines increasingly important (Kortuem et al, 2010). In order be competitive, computer science students should explore the human interaction and social expectations of the IoT in their projects.

  1. Cites source.                                            3. Varies idea order, sentence structure and words
  2. Blends source and personal analysis.    

Adapted from SJSU Writing Center