I did this quick review for my Academic Ladder group.
I USED to use Endnote. Got too cumbersome and tricky. I stopped more than five years ago, so I can’t even recall details.
My U switched to refworks. This was very nice at first. It is an online database. So, you have an account. With most search databases and our catalog, it was one click importing. It supports “descriptors” you edit, like tags. Like, all known biblio outputs for every style. Your database lives in the cloud, so you can be at ANY COMPUTER with internet and get to your library. You can have folders, lists and stuff. It ALSO has a plug-in for word that allows you to add citations as you write. So you write, you think “oh, smith 1987 here.” You then search in word your library, find smith,and stick it in. It adds some code to your paper. At the end you push a button and all code becomes correct citation and a bibliography is made.
Issues. 1) My library has gotten so big, it is a bit sluggish at times. 2) It does not capture web-based metadata as nicely as Zotero. 3) The word plug in was buggy for awhile, like 2 years, which irked me.
I am romantically a sucker for open-source stuff. I started using Zotero ALSO. Very similar to refworks except it is free, designed by academics for academics. Your library lives in a cloud. You can sync it to a local program, zotero standalone, for when you are NOT on the web (I think refworks can too).
Pluses for zotero: it is VERY GOOD at getting metadata. So, say I need a book that is not in my refworks library. Rather than got to catalog, search, export, etc, I go to amazon, or catalog, and in firefox, there is an add-on such that with one click Zotero grabs the citation. Also, it can make citations of webpages, blogposts and so on. Plus in firefox, you can open a window and edit the citation or ADD NOTES easily.
2) It seems to support networks or communities of schoalrs more readily to share libraries. I have not done this a lot, but could imagine so.
Me today: hybrid refworks and zotero user. If I were starting over, I’d be all Zotero. I haven’t switched all the way as it looks like a lot of work and so far my patchwork approach works.