What are they?
Reading list management, referencing and citation tools are all tools that aim to simplify the process of managing reading lists, references, citation and bibliography creation. They allow the collection of fully referenced sources in one place with functionality to export them into word-processing applications and other programs. Often these tools are integrated with library catalogues and online resource banks or repositories to provide a seamless experience, of searching, finding and referencing sources. Frequently they allow annotation of references. They can also help you impose a referencing system uniformly across citations, so that all your sources are cited in the same way.
How could they help me with my learning?
Correctly citing sources is a key part of writing a good essay. These tools make it easier to keep track of your reading, and to reference correctly the sources you use in your written work.
How can I start using one?
These are usually commercial tools, the most well known being EndNote. The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford have developed extensive guides for RefWorks and Mendeley, two free reference management tools. Zotero, an extension for the Firefox web browser, is another free open-source option. This tour provides an overview and guidance on how to get started with Zotero.