Reference Management Software


What is reference Management Software

A reference management system is a type of software used primarily by academia and the research community to keep track of information sources in papers.

LMS software including inexpensive LMS platforms for small businesses sometimes have some functionality coded within them to help students produce references for their work or direct students to the preferred ways of the school on citing sources.

Scholars and authors can use this software to record and use bibliographic citations (references) as well as manage project references. Modern reference management software is typically integrated with word processors, resulting in the automatic generation of a reference list in the appropriate format to meet editing conventions and properly credit the original source of other information.

Online libraries and resources are also available to most users through their reference management software and the ability to also search through search engines or 3rd party websites for even more material.

Some different types of citation styles are in use

Over the years a number of different styles of citing sources have appeared with most having their origins in US-based universities.

Here are some popular ones used in academic research and an example of how they look:


MLA Handbook (9th ed., 2021) establishes a system for documenting sources in scholarly writing. It is published by the Modern Language Association, which is based in the United States.

Released in April 2016, the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook is addressed primarily to secondary school and undergraduate college and university teachers and students.

Like the others listed here, this style is used for referencing websites and books during the research process.


“Title of document” 13 Dec. 2017, Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.


The University of Chicago Press has been publishing the Chicago Manual of Style since 1906. Writing and citation styles commonly used in publishing have been prescribed in 17 editions.

The guide focuses on American English and covers aspects of editorial practice such as grammar and usage. It is available in print as a hardcover book and as a searchable website by subscription.

The style is commonly used to reference sources such as books and websites.


“Title of document” Name Of Publication. August 25, 2002. Accessed January 1, 2023.


The American Psychological Association’s writing format is APA (APA). The APA format was created to improve reading comprehension in the social and behavioral sciences. The guidelines were created to improve communication clarity and “word choice that best reduces bias in language,” among other things.

Since 1950, the American Psychological Association (APA) has published the APA Manual of Style. The first editions were controlled by field leaders who were behaviorists.

The language bias guidelines have been updated over time and provide guidance for writing about age, disability, gender, research participation, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and intersectionality.


(2023, January 1). APA style. Website/Publication Name.


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More content from our technology glossary/knowledge base:

LMS (Learning Management Software)

Student Information System/software

Interactive whiteboard

Virtual classrooms

Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC)

LXP software (Learning Experience Platform)

Cloud computing

The World Wide Web (WWW)


“Reference management software” Wikipedia, 4 Feb. 2004, Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.

“APA style” Wikipedia, 8 Nov. 2003, Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.

“Chicago Manual of Style” 13 Dec. 2017, Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.

“The Chicago Manual of Style” Wikipedia, 25 Aug. 2002, Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.

“MLA Handbook” Wikipedia, 17 July 2006, Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.