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Library PG Tips

Managing your dissertation citations

Video transcript


Title slide 

This seminar will focus on managing your dissertations citations. 

What this session will cover

This session will cover:

How to…



instantly format

…your references 

Why save your references as you go along?

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of working on an assignment or essay that you have done extensive research for, but perhaps haven’t had a consistent system in place to save the articles or materials you have read or referenced, and when it came to compiling your reference or bibliography list at the end you have to painstakingly search for them all over again, doubling-up on your work, and eating into your time. To avoid that last minute scramble to put your reference list together, it’s best to save your references as you work through your research process, which can often be done within the database you are searching. 

Saving references within a database - title slide

And that’s where we’re going to start - how to save references within a database. Or in other words how we can save articles, book chapters or other research materials that we find through our online searches. 


Create free accounts

Most search databases and discovery tools allow you to save searches and individual search results, but you will need to create a free account within the database or discovery tool first. Let’s have a look at how this works in Library Search. 

Saving references in Library Search 

To save reference information for an item you find in Library Search, first make sure you are logged in to Library Search. If you are logged in, you will see your name in the top right hand corner of the screen. If not, it will display “log in” and you can log-in by clicking on the text. Once you’re logged in, you can save results by clicking on the drawing pin icon on the left hand side of the item in the search results. To access saved results click on the drawing pin icon in the top right hand corner screen next to your name.  

Saving references in Library Search 

On the next page, click on the “saved records” tab and you will find all of your saved results. You can organise your saved references by labelling them clicking on “add label”. Labels can act like a folder system, which you can navigate on the right hand side. 

Saving references in Web of Science

To access Web of Science, click on the A-Z of online resources tab on the library homepage. This will take you to the A-Z tab listing all resources and databases we subscribe to at the Library. To navigate, just click on the letter in the tab that corresponds to the first letter of the resource you want to access. For example, W for Web of Science. 

Web of Science screenshot

In Web of Science, sign-in if you already have an account, or click “register” to create an account. 

Web of Science screenshot

Run your search and on the search results page select the items that you want to save, and click “add to marked list” to send them to your account. To access them, click “Mark list” in the top right hand corner of the screen. 

Web of Science screenshot

Which will take you to this screen, where you can save the items in their own “group” by clicking save in the top left hand corner. 

Web of Science screenshot

A pop-up box will appear and prompt you to create a name for your saved items group. Once you add that your items are saved securely to your account. 

What are reference management tools?

They are sometimes called citation tools.

They work by storing the bibliographic information of items such as articles, and connecting with word processors so in-text citations and bibliographies can easily and automatically be created in a document, from the stored bibliographic information.

●collect, store, organise, and format references

●create bibliographies and in-text citations in a particular reference style 

Using reference management software can save you many hours of compiling, checking, and correcting your references, and improves consistency and accuracy.


Things to consider:

Cost - do you want a freely available tool or are you willing to pay

Access - Will you want to access the tool both on your device and remotely?

Storage - How many references and attachments will you need to store?

Word Processor - Is the tool compatible with the word processor you use?

Device – is the tool compatible with your device? e.g. Mac computers 

Reference Style - Does the tool format in your preferred style? 

Advantages - Does the tool offer specific features that meet 

Exporting references to a reference “library” 

Once you have chosen your citation tool and created a Library to house your references you can begin exporting your selected references or search results from online databases. Let’s see how this works in Library Search first. 

Exporting references : Library Search screenshot

In Library Search, click on the title of the item in your search results that you would like to export as a reference. Next, click “send to” in the left hand menu to see the options available. Click on the relevant file type for your citation tool, for example, you would select “ref works” if you are using a “ref works” library for your referencing. A file will download which you can easily import into your referencing library. 

Exporting references : Online journals

If you are on a journal’s website and would like to export the referencing file for a particular article, look for the option to “download” or “export” or “cite”. Different platforms may differ in what they label this function as. 

Exporting references : Academic Database Scopus

To export from a database like Scopus, select the search results you want to export, and click “export”.

Exporting references : Academic Database scopus

 Next select the referencing tool that you are working with, and click “export”. A file will download which you can easily import into your referencing library. 

Instantly formatting your references

Open up Word, or whichever programme you are using to type your essay. If you have already installed a reference management tool on your device you should see a corresponding tab in the Word menu ribbon, like you can see here.

Click on the tab and you should be presented with a number of functions, including the option to select your referencing style like Harvard, and the option to “insert citation” as seen in this screenshot of the EndNote tab. Click on the insert citation button to search a reference in your reference library that you can insert into your Word doc at the click of a button. 

Light-touch tools: Zotero bib

If you are an undergraduate, ZoteroBib is a great place to start to create a quick and easy reference list for free, without the need to install any software or create an account. 

Though you may find ZoteroBib more useful if you are working on one-off essays rather than a sustained research project like a dissertation. 

Zotero bib screenshot

Search a articles, urls, books, etc here to turn them into a bibliography list 

Zoterobib screenshot

Select your referencing style from the drop-down menu. 

Zoterobib screenshot

Click on the pages icon to get in-text citation format and to add page numbers

Zoterobib screenshot

Copy to your clipboard, and paste into your Word document.

Reference management guides title slide

A-Z online resources

This will take you to the A-Z tab listing all resources and databases we subscribe to at the Library, and our subject specific guides. You will find the guides in the Subject Guides section below the A-Z tab for Endnote, Mendeley, and Zotero. 

Referencing guide screenshot

You’ll find extensive step-by-step guides for each tool. 

Further Support title slide 

We’re coming to the end of this bite-sized seminar, and we will finish with some further support resources for your referencing. 

Referencing guide 

 Skills Hub is an online academic skills portal supporting your studies. You’ll find support and guidance on writing, researching, referencing, skills workshops, and how to book 1-2-1 support.

Skills Hub Page

To access support and guidance on referencing, click on the “Referencing and Academic Integrity” section on Skills Hub, where you will find step-by-step guidance and examples for referencing in all major styles used at Sussex. 

Library contact page

If you have any other queries, you can contact the Library either by email, or chat live with a member of staff during the weekdays, with our live chat option. 

End Slide

Your feedback is very much appreciated!



We want the activities on these tutorials to be as relevant and useful as possible. That being the case, the goal of this particular activity is to help you select and start with the referencing tool that suits your needs best.


Step 1:

Look at the reference management tools comparison table on the Skills Hub. Think about the way that you work, for example will it be helpful to choose a tool that synchronises across multiple devices? Is there are a particular word processor that you use and will need to integrate with? Some disciplines favour a particular tool, so if you are unsure it can also be worth asking for a recommendation.


Most tools will allow you to transfer your entire library of saved references to another tool should you wish to (they are all saved as the same sort of file). This means that if you choose a tool then find that it doesn’t suit your workflow, you can change to another.


Step 2:

Once you have decided which tool seems like the most appropriate, try setting up an account.


We have dedicated guides to help you get started with Zotero, EndNote and Mendeley.


Step 3:

Using the guides mentioned in the previous step, try adding some references into your chosen tool for future use. To make this step as useful as possible, add materials that you are actually going to use in your work e.g. documents that you may have saved to your desktop or bookmarked in your web browser.

Ask us Anything - Live Q&A with the Library
Thursday 16 July @ 11 am
hands holding cup of tea



Full details coming soon!