Best Bibliography Tool


What’s the best bibliography tool to use with Scrivener on a Mac?

Is Cite this for Me compatible?



Scrivener does not directly support any bibliography/citation software as a plug-in, but can work with any of the solutions that can process a compiled RTF text file and replace citation placeholders. See page 519 of the manual (in the Help menu) for more details.

I and many others use Bookends, though others will no doubt come along recommending Papers, Zotero …

Bookends is regularly updated, and has a very responsive developer. It works brilliantly with Nisus Writer Pro and Mellel; I assume it works equally as easily with Word, but I don’t have that so can’t comment.

I leave others to recommend their choices, but important information to help us is your field, as the different reference managers may have advantages for certain fields.



The answer depends on what you mean. Do you mean a complete reference/literature manager, with which you can search for, organize, read and annotate scientific articles, and eventually enter them as references in what you write, or do you mean something simpler?

In the past I tried Zotero but was thoroughly frustrated by it. They apparently claim that they have solved the issues and that it is the best software of its genre out there. See this thread about Zotero

In the mean time I started to use BookEnds and it worked right out of the box, no muss no fuss. It works seamlessly with Scrivener and meets my needs more than adequately. YMMV

I use Zotero and I prefer the user interface about Bookends. Everything looks to crowded in Bookends. I never know where to look for a specific function - large context menus, main menu…
Maybe because I’m using Zotero for some time I struggle with Bookends everytime I try to use it. The way the annotations are copied to the notes section is still a miracle to me. And the missing integration of Zotero for Scrivener is sad - but no big issue to me. But I will give Bookends another try ;)

Bibliography tools can be separated based on how they “started”. Zotero and Mendeley started as online / web tools, and therefore their ability to import references from the web is the prime focus. Bookends, which believe it or or has been in continual development since 1984! started as a database to store references. It excels at detailed management of your references, like making sure journal names are consistent, or the author “Doe, Joanna Anne” and “Doe, J.A.” can easily joined together. It has a floating cross-app citation search and paste tool built-in, working perfectly with Scrivener and nevertheless has very good search features.

Zotero’s best features revolve around the web import. But actually managing references is a disaster. at least for the life sciences, imports often have different formatting for author names or journals and so you really need a powerful database engine to normalise the journal names easily and without fuss. Managing your database is really tedious in Zotero and Mendeley, but if you don’t much care and want good web import experience, then they are fine.

If you like proper management of your references, and don’t want to pay for Bookends, JabRef is also an excellent and free cross/platform choice: — the management of references is as good or even better than Bookends…