Biomedical Science

Citation Managers


Which Citation Managers Are Supported By CMHSL?

Citation management (aka reference management) tools enable you to: 

  • Import citations from databases, catalogs, PDFs etc., often through a browser plug-in 

  • Store and organize references and/or PDFs in either a desktop or online account 

  • Find duplicate citations; add notes or annotate your citations 

  • Create bibliographies and in-text citations in Word and sometimes Google Docs using different citation styles 

  • Share your digital library and collaborate with colleagues 

Below is information on the two citation managers support by HSL, Zotero and Sciwheel: 






  • Web and desktop versions available 

  • Word Plug-in available, also works with Google Docs 

  • References can be added through direct import or browser plug-in 

  • Can add notes and highlights to PDFs  

  • Web-based 

  • Word Plug-in available, also works with Google Docs 

  • References can be added through direct import or browser plug-in 

  • Can add notes and highlights to PDFs or web pages 

  • Offers citation recommendations 



  • Limited free storage space on web version (300MB) 

  • No storage limit on desktop version 

  • No storage limit 



  • Freely available to all; can continue using it if you leave UVA  


  • UVA-funded subscription to Premium level 

  • If you leave UVA, you can use the Basic level for free or purchase a Premium subscription to retain full functionality  



  • Can create private or public group libraries in the web version which then appear in the desktop app 


  • Can invite others to a Shared Project and upload shared manuscripts and notes as well 


  • Zotero does not provide support but help is available through their active online user forum 

  • Support available at the Health Sciences Library (Ask Us Form



Additional Information 

  • Zotero tips (see below)

  • Sciwheel tips (see below)



Guidance for UVA Health faculty, staff, and students is available by appointment: 

  • Assistance choosing a citation manager  

  • Basic guidance on citation management features and getting started (for Zotero and Sciwheel only) 

Just Ask Us via the link on the left - we are happy to provide help via email, phone, or in-person. 

Note: we are unable to provide assistance with citation managers other than Zotero and Sciwheel but many commercial citation management programs offer support to their users: 

Zotero Tips

Getting Started

How to Use Zotero with Literature Databases

1. Exporting from PubMed

  • See this guide from the UAB Libraries. Note that there are two ways to import references, through the Web Connector or by exporting (see instructions on the left of the UAB guide page). Don't have the Web Connector? See this guide from Georgia State.

2. Exporting from Ovid MEDLINE or Ovid journals

  • Click Export and under Format, choose RIS
  • Double-click your downloaded RIS file and it should open in Zotero

3. Exporting from CINAHL

  • Add citations to your Folder, and in Folder view, click Export, then choose Direct Export in RIS format (e.g. CITAVI, EasyBib, EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero)
  • Double-click your downloaded RIS file and it should open in Zotero

4. Exporting from other databases or database collections

  • This guide from Tufts has directions on exporting from many different library literature databases.

Using Zotero at UVA

While using Zotero off-Grounds, you may want to configure your settings to help you retrieve full text articles. Click on EditPreferences, then Proxies. Then select the option to “enable proxy redirection” and under Configured Proxies add the uva proxy:

Retrieving PDFs through Zotero

Right-click on a single citation (or multiple citations) and select Find Available PDFs. Once retrieved you'll see a small PDF icon in each row of the citation display. Or, after selecting citations, click the green arrow at the top of the page, then select Library Lookup. Windows will now open in your browser for each citation in the library's Journal Finder, with links to full text or options to order through Interlibrary Loan. 

Zotero Troubleshooting

Thank you to the UVA University Library for their advice on the error message with the Zotero browser extension for Chrome.

Some students trying to add the Zotero browser extension for Chrome get this error message:

A screenshot of the Chrome error message that loads when you try to add the Zotero browser extension, stating "We are sorry, but you do not have access to this service. Please contact your Organization Administrator for access."

This is the result of changes in the Chrome Web Store settings which were implemented by Google for all "Google Workplace for Education" users (including everyone that has a UVA Gmail account). Below we've outlined several workarounds.

Logging Out of Chrome

Since this is an issue with the UVA Gmail account, the easiest solution is to simply log out of that account in order to add the connector to Chrome. Note that you can be logged in to another non-UVA Google account, or not logged in to an account at all when installing the Zotero Connector. Therefore, log out of the UVA Gmail account in Chrome, install the Connector, and then log back in.

Change Browsers

Zotero Connector works with all major browsers, and only Chrome (and only while logged in using a UVA Gmail address) blocks the installation. Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Brave (and other Chromium-based browsers) are all options.

If for some reason you aren't able to log out to install the Connector, and you'd prefer to continue using Chrome while logged into the UVA Gmail account, there are still two other options (although they are more involved) -

Add Citations to Zotero without a Connector

This requires a bit of working around. Two options are outlined below.

Use the Zotero Bookmarklet - This bookmark will allow you to add items to your Zotero Library in much the same way as the browser connector.

Export by RIS format - This works for articles and books in most library catalogs. The link above will walk you through the basics.

SciWheel Tips

Getting Started with Sciwheel

  • Access Sciwheel site while on Grounds, though this UVA proxied link, or via the UVA VPN
  • Click on Create Free Account Now and use your UVA email to sign up for an account
  • Once in Sciwheel, at the top, under Tools, you will see links to add:
    • Chrome or Firefox extension - this tool allows you to grab references from within your browser (e.g. while viewing PubMed results) 
    • Word plugin 
    • Google Docs add-on

You can also install the mobile app for Android and iPhone.

Using Sciwheel from off-Grounds

  • When using Sciwheel off Grounds, you can add UVA's proxy address into your settings to enable you to retrieve UVA full text subscriptions.
    1. Sign in to Sciwheel and click on your initials in the upper right, then click on Account
    2. Click on Proxy settings from the left menu
    3. Under Proxy URL *, copy and paste this text:
    4. Click on Save


If you cannot access SciWheel or get error messages, check below to see if one of these steps can help:

  1. If you get an "account expired" message:
    1. If you have been using SciWheel from off-Grounds for more than 60 days (called off-campus roaming by SciWheel) you will need to "reset" the off-campus roaming counter. You can do this by:
      1. Using your laptop and SciWheel while physically on Grounds
      2. Accessing your SciWheel account while using the UVA VPN
      3. Accessing your SciWheel account through the UVA SciWheel link 
    2. If unable to resume normal access, email Sciwheel support or use the Sciwheel chat icon while in SciWheel F1000Workspace Support Message/Chat Button

Help and Support


Sciwheel Support:

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