Reference And Bibliography Generator Programs

Formatting your quotes can be rather tricky. Learning where to put all the commas, italics, and quotation marks in the right places requires a lot of time and almost inhuman patience. After you write an A+ paper, you may have no energy left for it. The text can now become just a big, blurred gray spot before your eyes. Then trying to fix quotes is not what you want to do.
Using citation tools is necessary. Here’s a rating of the top 25 best free online citation generators.

1. Son of Citation Machine


Along with MLA, APA, and Chicago, this citation generator is compatible with at least 10 other popular academic citation styles.
Access: free; subscription plan for extra features (save unlimited bibliographies and check for plagiarism); registration needed to download a citation in Word or switch format
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN; the tool fills in the authors’ names and title of the book, while the year and location of publication need to be filled in manually
Extra Features: creating parenthetical citations, checking paper for plagiarism and grammar errors
2. BibMe.org


This citation tool is very similar to Son of Citation Machine in its functionality and features. The two tools have similar forms and even pop-up windows.
Access: free; subscription plan for extra features
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN
Extra Features: bibliography and parenthetical citations, grammar and plagiarism check
3. EasyBib


This citation tool has only limited free access. You can make free citations only in MLA style. The advantage of this citation generator is that it fills in more details than other tools (including the year of publication and publishing company).
Access: free citations without registration only in MLA style
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN
Extra Features: APA, Chicago, and about 100 other citation styles are available for pro accounts only
4. CiteFast


This tool creates citations in the latest editions of APA, MLA, and Chicago.
Access: free access; registration needed only to see history of your citations
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN
Extra Features: you can easily copy and paste your citations, export them in Word, and even keep them for 4 days in your account. Even if you have no account, the site will still show you your previous searches when you get back to it.
5. Cite This for Me


This tool has an easy-to-use design, which is similar to that of a Microsoft Word document. It creates citations for all citation styles imaginable.
Access: basic version is free; premium account ($15 per month) can be used for extra features
Functionality: different resource types; search by title, author, ISBN; export of bibliography or sharing it with a group
Extra Features: pro features include checking for plagiarism, downloading the tool as an add-on, and creating several bibliographies at the same time.
6. RefDot


RefDot is a free Chrome extension that can be used for quick online research. To get a reference, simply search for the book you need on Amazon. In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see a button that will automatically cite a resource. Otherwise, you can manually input the citation details.
Access: a free Chrome extension
Functionality: creates citations in Chicago style only
Extra Features: free export and storage of references, alphabetical order of citations
7. ETurabian


This tool makes citations in Turabian, MLA, and APA and requires manual entry of data, but it’s a great way to create bibliography and footnotes.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of details, auto-formatting
Extra Features: using online dissertation catalogues, exporting and sharing bibliographies
8. MickSchroeder


Mick Schroeder is an Informatics Pharmacist from Philadelphia. He has kindly shared his invention with everyone on the web. It takes just a few seconds for this tool to create a perfectly formatted AMA style citation.
Access: free; available as a Google Chrome extension
Functionality: search by Pubmed ID (recommended), DOI name, ISBN, URL; no manual entry of details needed
Extra Features: automatic generation of citations from any web page
9. RefMe


This tool does a great job formatting citations in more than 7,500 citation styles.
Access: free; sign-up with Facebook is required
Functionality: search by author, title, ISBN, URL
Extra Features: import and export of citations
10. KnightCite


This tool creates citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of data; a variety of resource types
Extra Features: copy paste citations, save and edit previously saved citations
11. WorksCited4U


This tool creates quick citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of data only
Extra Features: n/a
12. NoodleTools


NoodleTools offers helpful software for academic writing, including note-taking and citation tools. Citation maker is applicable for APA, MLA, and Chicago.
Access: citations are free; extra payment for additional features (notecards, collaboration, and sharing features)
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: a premium account allows using note-taking tools and getting expert help
13. APA Citation Maker


This tool cites sources only in APA style, but if you need a quick citation in this style, it’s a great choice.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: sorting citations, checking format, saving them as a Word document or a Google doc
14. CiteMaker


CiteMaker generates citations in MLA, APA, Harvard, and Oxford.
Access: free; registration for saving a bibliography for 30 days
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: in-text citations and bibliography entries
15. CitationBuilder


Citation Builder specializes in citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: entries can be easily copied and pasted from the pop-up window
16. Citation Creation


This tool generates simple and quick citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.
Access: free; no registration
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: creating citation lists
17. ResearchoMatic


ResearchoMatic is great for citing sources in all major citation styles, including IEEE, MLA, APA, Chicago, and Vancouver.
Access: free; registration necessary
Functionality: manual entry of details
Extra Features: sharing your findings with others
18. ClassTools.net


The main advantage of this tool is that it not only helps you make citations but also helps you research. There’s no need to input all the resource details. All you need to do is do a search by keywords, title, or author or search by URL and you will get formatted citations with links to resources.
Access: free
Functionality: search by keywords, title, URL
Extra Features: online research
19. AcademicHelp.net


This free citation generator focuses on MLA, APA, and Chicago format.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: copy and paste the received citation
20. WritingHouse


WritingHouse offers a quick and easy way to generate citations, which are generated automatically as soon as you enter a title, keywords, or just the URL of your resource.
Access: free
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN, and automatic generation of citations
Extra Features: adding citations to bibliographies
21. CitationProducer


This tool makes citations in MLA and APA styles.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of data
Extra Features: copying and pasting resources
22. Biomedical Citation Maker


This citation generator is great for research and using citations on websites.
Access: free
Functionality: search by PMID, DOI, NCT
Extra Features: help with using the numerical findings of a study
23. Ultrasound of the Week


This citation generator is great for making citations in AMA style.
Access: free
Functionality: search by DOI, PMID, URL
Extra Features: HTML and plain text
24. Make Citation


This tool specializes in MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, and IEEE.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: n/a
25. Zotero


Zotero is a free browser extension or a Word add-on that allows creating citations without leaving your browser or a Word document.
Access: free
Functionality: automatically generates a citation
Extra Features: saving and sharing the resources you find

The Best Free Online Bibliography And Citation Tools 

Free online bibliography and citation tools have become an integral part of every eLearning project, especially if you are on a tight eLearning budget. eLearning content developers make extensive use of these platforms to avoid being accused of stealing somebody else’s ideas. However, cost keeps rising if you add fancy citation tools with elegant and advanced features. So, here are the best free online bibliography and citation tools that are bound to get the job done without any extra burden on your eLearning budget.

1. BibMe

One of the most functional free online bibliography and citation tools on the Internet. All the features an eLearning content developer needs are there.

  • 4 Citation Styles
    Whether you are using MLA, APA, Turabian or Chicago, BibMe can help you reference your work effectively.
  • Variety Of Sources
    Journals, websites, books and many other sources covering both digital and print format.
  • Plagiarism Checker
    Check your content for plagiarism against a great deal of sources on the Internet to avoid using somebody else’s words.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version Available
    Most of the features are available in the free version.

2. Citation Machine

This is definitely one of the most easy to use free online bibliography and citation tools.

  • Vast Citation Style Variety
    Citation Machine can help eLearning content developers reference in all 4 major styles, namely APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian. However, it provides an immense library of 7.000 additional citation styles for many different fields.
  • Resources And Guides
    The platform offers a guide on how to properly cite in APA, MLA and Chicago.
  • Plagiarism Checker
    Much like BibMe, this platform also offers this feature that only comes if you subscribe though.
  • Numerous Sources
    Citation Machine allows you to cite content from books, magazines, newspapers, journals, films and many other sources.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version Available
    Citation Machine offers many of its great features for free.

3. Citavi

Citavi is multi-purpose free online bibliography and citation tool eLearning content developers can use for their knowledge organization needs. It is also a reference manager and a task management platform.

  • Research Process Management
    From importing sources, referencing them properly and then exporting them, to managing content and allocating tasks in a team, this free online bibliography and citation tool does much more than help you create a works-cited page.
  • Many Options To Add References
    Citavi gives you the chance to choose the way you want to add references. It features 35 options to include automatical or manual referencing as well as using a bar code scanner or PDF referencing.
  • Knowledge Organizer
    Two groundbreaking options that are Citavi exclusives enable you to organize knowledge in an efficient way. Keywording and a hierarchical category system will aid you in adding your own thoughts to the platform.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version Available And Various Premium Options
    Citavi will not charge you anything for up to 100 references. Then, you have various premium membership options for commercial use, education as well as student and personal use.

4. Citefast

While having a relatively simplistic interface, this platform offers all the major functions of a good free online bibliography and citation tool.

  • 3 Citation Styles
    APA, MLA and Chicago to cover all your basic reference needs as well as an in-text citation generator.
  • Good Variety Of Sources
    Webpages, books, journals, newspapers and online videos along with many other digital and print sources.
  • Style Guides For All 3 Citation Styles
    Comprehensive list of style tips for APA, MLA and Chicago.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Programs
    Citefast offers all of its features for free.

5. Citelighter

An award-winning multi-purpose free online bibliography and citation tool that also functions as an excellent writing aid tool.

  • Automatic Bibliographies And Writing Templates
    Citelighter will generate your bibliographies automatically leaving you more time for writing. It also features great writing template variety to help you organize your thoughts effectively.

Features And Plans

  • Demo Version And 1 Premium Option Available
    Although Citelighter has a paid version, you do have the chance to test out many of its great features for free. Citelighter offers a very competitive package in a very affordable price which they claim is 80% less than similar market solutions. By contacting them you can find out about the price specifics.

6. Docear

Open-source academic literature management and free online bibliography and citation tool with lots of interesting features that can assist eLearning content developers in referencing their eLearning materials.

  • Single-Section User Interface
    Easy-to-use layout that allows users to organize documents and categorize annotations. It also enables multiple viewing of various annotations in different documents.
  • Available In Various Platforms
    Windows, Mac, and Linux to suit the needs of any eLearning content developer.

Features And Plans

  • No Premium Subscription Required
    Docear doesn’t have any premium membership options, but it does give you the chance to donate for its running and maintenance costs.

7. Recipes4Success

What’s radical about this free online bibliography and citation tool is that it gives you the chance to even reference sources like sound effects, music pieces, images and email messages.

  • Automatically Formatted Citations
    You still have to type in all the information but Recipes4Success formats it for you.
  • Simple And Easy-To-Use Interface
    Recipe4Success’s user-friendly interface is applicable to all sorts of needs.

Features And Plans

  • No Premium Subscription Required
    No fee is required for users to utilize Recipes4Success’s features.

8. OttoBib

While we are in the digital era a great deal of information comes from print publications such as books. OttoBib is one ofthose free online bibliography and citation tools that are used specifically for book sources.

  • ISBN Citations
    OttoBib enables eLearning content developers to reference their content just by providing the ISBN number of the book they used.
  • 6 Citation Styles
    MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, Wikipedia and BibTeX to cover all your basic citation needs.
  • Google Chrome Extension
    This add-on allows you to create citations from the comfort of your favorite web browser.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    OttoBib does not require any premium subscriptions.

9. RefDot

Although you wouldn’t actually call it a free online bibliography and citation tool, eLearning content developers can definitely benefit from this Google Chrome extension.

  • Numerous Citation Options
    RefDot allows you to cite books, journals and web sites.
  • Reference Storing
    References are stored in your Google Chrome browser.
  • Lots Of Features
    Simultaneous author management, XML, standard text and HTML format viewing.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    RefDot is a 100% free Google Chrome extension.

10. Zotero

Browser plugin and a great free online bibliography and citation tool that helps eLearning content developers gather, manage and share their research sources.

  • Personalized Resource Libraries
    By embedding this plugin you are able to store digital sources of virtually any kind in your library by a single click.
  • Support For Many Sites
    From university libraries to news sites, Zotero provides all the research assistance you need.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    Zotero is a free online bibliography and citation tool. As such it does not require any memberships.

11. EasyBib

Free online bibliography and citation tools constitute a functional way for people wanting to reference various types of content, both digital and print. EasyBib provides a well-rounded solution for all your citation needs.

  • 59 Content Sources
    Content sources range from traditional types such as books and journal articles all the way to live performances and newsletters.
  • Manual Cite
    Although Easybib provides automatically formatted citations, you also have the option to manually cite your references and even add annotations.

Features And Plans

  • No Subscription Required
    EasyBib offers its citation features for free.

12. CiteThisForMe

CiteThisForMe is one of those free online bibliography and citation tools that offer a plethora of features for reference management.

  • Functional Interface
    Citethisforme showcases a great layout. Everything you need is easily accessible from the comfort of your own dashboard.
  • Practical Features
    Great variety in sources, citation styles and editing options. What’s more, if you pay for a subscription you can get additional features such as a plagiarism checker, a Chrome add-on and a mobile application.

Features And Plans

  • Free Version And 1 Premium Option Available
    Although CiteThisForMe comes with a free version, there is also 1 premium option available. For $9 you can purchase the premium version and get 5 plagiarism checks per month, spelling and grammar checks as well as various other features.

Free online bibliography and citation tools are the most effective way for eLearning content developers to give credit to people whose ideas they used. More importantly, these platforms offer great and functional features with no additional expenses, which is extremely important for maintaining a low eLearning budget for an eLearning project.

Free online bibliography and citation tools are just one type of tool eLearning content developers should have in their bunker. Another one is free tools to create infographics. Read the article List Of Free Tools To Create Infographics For Your Learners and find out about the best free tools to produce quality infographics for online learners.

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