Reference Manager

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Reference Manager
Developer(s) Research Information Systems; later acquired by Thomson ISI ResearchSoft
Initial release 1984
Stable release 12 / 02-09-2008
Operating system Microsoft Windows Macintosh (no version for Linux)
Available in English
Type Reference management
License Proprietary

Reference Manager is a commercial reference management software package sold by Thomson Reuters. It was the first commercial software of its kind, originally developed by Ernest Beutler and his son, Earl Beutler, in 1982 through their company Research Information Systems. Offered for the CP/M operating system, it was ported to DOS and then Microsoft Windows and later the Apple Macintosh.


Reference Manager is most commonly used by people who want to share a central database of references and need to have multiple users adding and editing records at the same time. You can specify whether users are allowed to make edits to the database. Competing packages EndNote and ProCite do not offer this functionality, but Citavi does.

Reference Manager offers different in-text citation templates for each Reference Type. When writing papers, you may want to have a different in-text citation style depending on the reference type you are citing, or journal you are writing for. For example, if you insert a reference for a Book which appears as (Smith, 1999), using Reference Manager you can also insert a reference for a Journal, and it could appear differently, e.g. Smith, 1999 (without the brackets).

Reference Manager allows the use of synonyms within a database. For example, one could specify that "Animal" is a synonym of "Animals", so that in searches for references containing "Animal", references containing "Animals" are also returned.

Reference Manager Web Publisher allows publishing a reference databases to an intranet or internet site. This allows anyone with a web browser to search and download references into their own bibliographic software. Others can even edit the reference information (so that it is wise to password protect the site). Web Publisher includes functionality to interact with SOAP and WSDL standard services.


Thomson Reuters discontinued the sale of Reference Manager December 31, 2015 and focus exclusively on the continued enhancement of Endnote.[1] Once installed, Endnote X7 can import Reference Manager databases and convert individual Word documents, originally formatted for Reference Manager, into Endnote formatting. Reference Manager databases can also be imported into Citavi,[2] which also converts Word documents into the Citavi format. Citavi furthermore permits to install a database for teamwork locally, as is possible with Reference Manager, while EndNote's team function is cloud based.

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