The seventh app to unwrap is...



Gathering references and creating bibliographies is a necessary evil that cannot be avoided no matter how hard we might try to ignore it. But all that hardship is about to end! RefME is a citation app that makes this task really really easy - it automatically generates citations and bibliographies/reference pages for you in seconds! This app is a gem and a real time saver.

RefME is available for free from both iTunes and Google Play and it’s also accessible via your web browser. You can log in via the app or your browser and have access to everything you've been working on. There are no in-app purchases either, so every feature you see within RefMe is available to you right now at your fingertips.


What does RefME look like & how does it work?

A ‘citation’ is the information that you provide for your reader after you’ve quoted an author in the body of your own text. So, (Miller and Doering, 2014)  is an example of a citation.

A ‘reference’ then is the full bibliographic information that you provide in a separate reference page or bibliography at the end of your paper/assignment/thesis:

e.g. Miller, C., & Doering, A. H. (Eds.). (2014). The new landscape of mobile learning: Redesigning education in an App-Based world. United Kingdom: Routledge.

Within RefME all of your references, within which your citations are nested, are all organised into ‘projects’. This image explains this a little better.


A Screenshot of RefME

screenshot of refme

So, you could set up different ‘projects’ for each module or course that you're taking for example, or for each individual assignment that you've been set. You can rename your ‘projects’ whatever you like. You can move and copy citations between different projects too so it's not a problem if you need to use some of the same sources in different projects - just swipe the reference to get the options to copy, move and delete.

Creating a reference is so easy. If you have the book in front of you, just scan the barcode, otherwise just search for it by title, author or ISBN. You can also (manually) create references for websites, artwork, and newspaper articles etc. There are over 7000+ referencing styles to choose from, which include the popular ones like Harvard, APA, MLA, and Chicago. Once you’ve created a reference, you can...

  • create lists of annotated citations that are nested under that reference, meaning you can list important quotes from that reference that you might want to use later and note what pages those quotes are from, before including some text notes, thoughts or reflections of your own relevant to those quotes. RefME automatically generates the correct citation for you

  • change the style of your references and any associated citations with just one tap

  • invite anyone, by email, to collaborate on any of your projects so that you can create references and citations together. This is a great feature that can really help groups undertaking collaborative projects. This is also a feature that educators could capitalise on by setting up a class ‘project’ or space in RefME to which everyone in the module or course could be given access to. The list of references and annotated citations exported at the end of that semester could be a fantastic resource to all concerned if managed correctly

  • and finally, you can export a full list of the references and citations from any one project. Where you can export it to depends on what other apps you use but, for example, you could export your references to OneNote, Evernote, or even to a specific board and list in Trello, or you could just email them to yourself. Either which way, you’re presented with a perfect reference page/bibliography


Watch this short 1.44min video for a very quick taster of what the app can do. (This video is for the iOS app but the android app is practically the same. Tutorials on all aspects of RefME for both iOS and Android are available on YouTube.)



RefME is not like some of the other apps that we’ve reviewed to-date on this 12 apps project. It doesn’t allow you to access information, engage with it, or express your understanding of it in a wide variety of ways. It has a very specific purpose and there’s just one way to use it really regardless of your preferred learning style. You cannot embed audio, or upload images or photos to it. Neither can you colour code your projects or visualise the references in other way apart from in the lists that it provides.  And so, we cannot really review this app for visual learners, auditory learners, read/write learners and kinesthetic learners in the way we would have done with some of the other apps. However, don’t forget that developing a personal learning network is also part of personalising your learning experience and this is where this app fits in. Your fellow students can be a rich learning resource for you and the ability to share and collaborate on a RefME ‘project’ facilitates and supports the development of personal learning networks.


TIP Consider adding the RefME WebClipper to your chrome browser on your PC or laptop. Using that is the fastest way to cite webpages, articles videos and books when you are browsing online. When reading an article just add the reference to RefME in one click and then if you highlight text in the article it automatically creates a citation and copies in the text as a quote. View the webclipper in action in the video.


Alternative Apps to check out

EasyBib is another app available for free from iTunes and Google Play. It works in much the same way as RefMe and it has a web-based version also. However, in-app purchases are necessary if you wish to unlock the most useful features.

Optional Task

Optional Task

  1. Download RefME

  2. Pick up the book nearest to you and scan its barcode by tapping ‘Add Reference’ on the app

  3. Like it? Then don’t stop there! Create a ‘project’ relevant to your work at the moment and start building your bibliography in seconds

  4. Tweet a screengrab of your newly created project and its list of references to #12appsDIT

It might just be worth your while! 

Don’t forget to tweet comments, tips and hints about RefMe to #12appsDIT