Category: Research

Mendeley vs Zotero

Previously I posted about Zotero, and I am using Zotero primarily in my academic study. At the same time, I used Mendeley to manage all the PDF files that I am studying. Recently, I found that inserting new citation in my document using Zotero is a little bit slower (too many references), and at the same time I need to use Mendeley to read the journal articles and search for the text. Therefore, I was wondering whether can I depend on Mendeley only, so that I need not to use Zotero together. So, I converted my document manually and change the citation to Mendley. Then I discovered the following feature differences:

Mendeley Zotero
Save to library from web browser Using bookmarklet.
Allow to save PDF to the library depending on the sites.
I found that it may miss some authors, or wrong item type.
Firefox addon.
Chrome/Safari extension connected to Zotero Standalone.
There is bookmarklet.
Using bookmarklet can save the PDF to the cloud storage, but not local computer.
I found that the saved items are more complete and more accurate than Mendeley
PDF Can search and view the text in the PDF, integrated to Mendeley Desktop Cannot search the text in the PDF
Citation detection in document Can detect new citation, and allows to insert into library. Cannot.
Insert citation in document Mendeley Desktop will grab the focus and the window will on top of the document, makes me cannot read the text. Zotero will popup a small bar to insert the citation.
LibreOffice extension toolbar Cannot hide the label. Can hide the label.
Quota 2GB 300MB

Because of limited quota, that is why I avoid saving PDF to the Zotero. Mendeley is able to integrate with Zotero. I have not try this feature, not sure whether it is good or bad. And I also found that, inserting Zotero citation is faster than Mendeley. But Mendeley has a very good feature to detect the citations in the document (I think that is why it is slower).

Zotero: More than notetaking

Since I am doing research. My good supervisor introduced me to use reference manager software such as Mendeley Desktop or JabRef. This is because writing the article, we always need to do citation and reference.

Since I am using LibreOffice, both can integrate with LibreOffice Writer. However, JabRef does not work as LibreOffice Writer extension. It is more complicated. This makes me try Mendeley Desktop.

Mendeley Desktop provides extension for Writer. It works fine. But when I want to insert citation, the Mendeley Desktop window will be in front, it is a little annoying.

Then, search alternative software from Wikipedia. Then I found Zotero. I used it before. That time, there was no standalone version, it was only Firefox extension. Now, the 3.0 is standalone version, but based on XULRunner. It provides LibreOffice Writere extension just like Mendeley Desktop. Moreover, I can install a lot of different citation styles which I need.

Integrating to LibreOffice Writer, I found that Zotero is better than Mendeley Desktop. Zotero allows the citation format which compatible to MS Word, that is using “bookmarks”. Then I can save it as doc or docx. But Mendeley Desktop does not do so. It is saved as odt, but export to MS Word compatible.

If you are writing article, you may need it.