If you are an Undergraduate student that has started collecting references for various subjects from many sources and this is your first attempt at a Citation Management System then Zotero could be for you.
Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a free tool that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It is easy to use and lives in your web browser where you do your research. Most commonly, Zotero is downloaded as a Firefox extension. However, Zotero can also be used with the Chrome and Safari browsers or used as a stand-alone tool. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations; organize them into easily searchable collections for different projects; and create bibliographies using Word (for Mac or Windows) or OpenOffice
|Free, Open Source, User Friendly and can be used on mobile devices.Comes with 300MB of storage||Must pay for extra storage space beyond 300MB|
|Great for importing records from non-traditional sources such as websites and video streaming. It works well with Google Scholar||Cannot annotate PDF attachments|
|Proxy detection is automatic, making off-campus work with library databases easier.||Duplicate references need to be removed manually|
|Library can be saved and moved to another citation management system if needed.||Requires the install of 2 plug-ins if the Firefox Browser isn't used.|
Still unsure? Have a look at the Zotero Quick Start guide
>> Please note that Zotero recently upgraded to version 5 and some of the official documentation is still being adjusted on Zotero.org - this may lead to further updates of the information in this guide. <<
Decide on how Zotero will best serve your research needs, will you be using it on your own devices? Will you be using it on campus? Or a combination of the both?
First create an account at Zotero.org
Using Zotero at home or on personal device
When you are at home, you only have to download the program an connector for your browser once on your PC
Zotero can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux
Using Zotero On Campus
When you log into the PCs on campus you will need to download the Zotero connector (plug-in extension) to enable it to work. Every time you log into a different PC you have to go through this process
If you are having trouble installing Zotero, please see staff at the Information Desk for assistance or see our help guides on this page.
Zotero offers a 'connector' (plug-in extension) to popular browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera.
The in-browser button allows for 'single click' collection of references from sources such as databases and webpages
Where the previous version of Zotero could be used only in-browser, Zotero 5.0 requires installation of its 'Research Assistant' (program window).
The browser connector integrates with the program to assist with importing records from the web.
The Zotero Download page has both options for download
Zotero requires a bookmarklet to collect references via your mobile device to your zotero.org account.
Note that this is only for collecting references (syncing with your online account) and there is currently no integration with mobile app word processors.
The Zotero for Mobile has information on third party apps written for a variety of mobile devices such as iOS and Android.
Zotero's main strength is it's ability to capture information from items quickly, if a full text pdf is available for the item then it will be attached automatically, provided it has a Capture icon (see below) in the address bar
Items can be manually entered by clicking the New Entry icon then choosing the Resource Type.
You can enter as many or as few fields as you wish.
Items synced via the Zotero Servers can be accessed at any time.This allows you to share your Library with others through your zotero.org account.
You can create shared groups enabling collaborative management of resources. These Groups can be either Private, Public (Closed Membership) or Public (Open Membership)
Under the My Library heading in the left hand column you can create a folder to keep items related to a topic area, course code or subject together rather than in the main My Library area.
This is called a Collection:
Eg: In the picture below Criticism and Plays are Collections
You can assign Tags to items in your library.
Tags are essentially your own metadata assigned to items your collection. These Tags can be used to quickly search (see below Quick Search/Advanced Search) and group items in a meaningful way.
Eg: The picture below shows some example Tags that have been entered.
Quick Search/Advanced Search
A Quick Search and can locate items in your library by using a keyword search or by entering a Tag (see above) into a single search box (see pic below).
If you require a more robust search (eg:Boolean operators, multiple keywords or tags), click the magnifying glass icon next to the search box, this will open the Advanced Search window.
Advanced Searches can be saved in the left hand column under My Library, they look similar to a Collection yet the folder has a magnifying glass icon on it.
eg: In the picture below Criticism and Plays are Collections yet Hamlet is a Saved Search.
These Saved Searches will continually update items automatically within the folder that match the saved search strategy.
You can move your library to another Citation Management System (CMS) by ensuring that the .RIS file has been exported correctly.
Refer to the information on the Zotero page on how to move your library to a different computer
To move your Library FROM Endnote to Zotero consult How do i Import Records from Endnote?
Moving your Library FROM Zotero to Endnote is outlined in the Thomson Reuters YouTube clip below
Zotero is pre-loaded with twelve Referencing Styles within its Style Manager.
Within these initial twelve styles are MLA, APA, Vancouver and Chicago:
Additional styles can be added using the Get additional styles... link. For more information see Installing Additional Styles from the Zotero Styles Repository.
One of the main functions of Zotero is that it interacts with a word processing program (Word, Pages or Open Office) to allow the inclusion of in-text citations while you write your essay, this is known as Cite While You Write (CWYW)
The main way that Zotero will interact with your Word Processing Program is through an integrated tool bar. This is installed automatically when Zotero 5.0 is first set up
The tool bar comes with many functions (Table below taken from the Using the Zotero Word Plug in page)
|Add/Edit Citation||Add a new citation or edit an existing citation in your document at the cursor location.|
|Add/Edit Bibliography||Insert a bibliography at the cursor location or edit an existing bibliography.|
|Document Preferences||Open the Document Preferences window, e.g. to change the citation style.|
|Refresh||Refresh all citations and the bibliography, updating any item metadata that has changed in your Zotero library.|
|Unlink Citations|| Unlink Zotero citations in the document by removing the field codes. This prevents any further automatic updates of the citations and bibliographies.
Note that removing field codes is irreversible, and should usually only be done in a final copy of your document.
For more information on how Zotero works with your Word Processor go to the Using the Zotero Word Plug-in page
To use Zotero from multiple devices you can use Syncing. This keeps all of your libraries up to date with the latest version.
This section covers places to go if you need further assistance with Zotero.
Consult the Zotero Knowledge Base for basic usage guidelines.
See the Tips and Tricks page for shortcuts and Preferences for extra features.
Also check the Zotero Forums for any updates and news
Below are links to other University Videos and Zotero Libguides
Emory Libraries and Information Technology, Atlanta
JoMC Park Library, University Of North Carolina
Official Zotero Trobleshooting Guide
Zotero has produced a large collection of Video Tutorials
Official Zotero Screencast Tutorials
Also Zotero has a Channel on YouTube
References can be added to a Zotero library in many different ways: