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Graduate School of Arts & Sciences-Hawthorne Campus

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free bibliographic citation manager. It is used to: gather citations from several sources including databases, store them locally and online, organize them in collections, share them in online groups, and place them in Word documents as in-text citations and bibliographies.

How to Get Started

How to get started:

1. Visit Zotero website

2. Register for an account.

3. Download the software. Click the "Download" button under Zotero 5.0 for Windows. Click and run the setup file. Under Zotero Connector click the "Install Chrome Connector" button to place the Connector icon in the Chrome browser.  Click the link "Zotero Connectors for other browsers" to place the Connector icon in  Firefox, Safari or Opera.

4. Configure preferences.

Click the gear icon and then select "Preferences" from the pull-down menu to display the Zotero Preferences Window.


On the General tab a decision must be made whether to automatically attach associated pdfs and to automatically tag items with keywords and subjects headings. Pdfs fill the storage quota more quickly than citations alone. The default quota is 300 MB. Pdfs vary in size but an estimate is that 300 MB will store anywhere from 300 to 1200 pdfs.  Some users prefer to create their own tags rather than have Zotero automatically download them.  The advantage of this approach is avoiding synonymous terms being assigned to the body of citations for the same subject.


Add your username and password in order to sync citations from your computer to your Zotero account in the cloud.  Storing citations in the cloud allows for access from any device.

Click the Check for installer button to install software for indexing the full text of pdfs.  Once installed, the button changes to Check for Update to add modifications to the software.  This software indexes pdfs and allows for full-text searching of pdfs in your database.


The Cite tab displays bibliographic styles.  To add styles, click the Get additional styles link. This accesses a site of thousands of styles that can be added to Zotero.


On the Advanced tab, click the Search for Resolvers button.


The Search for Resolvers button will locate 4 resolvers. Select the third one in the list and it will display the Serials Solutions url. This setting enables the Library Lookup function which assists with finding and downloading pdf files.





Methods for Adding Citations to Zotero

There are several methods for adding citations to Zotero:

1. Perform a database search and select results. Displayed is a screenshot from a Pubmed search in the Firefox browser. Enter search terms. Click the folder icon (circled blue) to display the "Select Items" window (highlighted). Click the checkboxes to select individual items or click the "Select All" button to select all the citations on the results page. Repeat this process for each page of the search results. Selected items will be saved to Zotero. The highlighted "Saving to pubmed" window at the lower right indicates citations are being saved to a Zotero collection called "pubmed". The two saved citations are displaying in the central "Title" pane.

Displayed below is a screenshot from the same Pubmed search showing a single article. To save this article citation to Zotero, click the article icon (circled blue). This icon changes depending on what is being viewed. It is a folder when viewing pages of results, and in this case it is an article. There are different icons for webpages, blogposts, etc.

2. Import citations files.

Zotero Reference

Zotero Forum

The best source for Zotero assistance is the Forum on the Zotero website. Follow these steps to get answers to problems:

1. Log in to your account on the Zotero website. The prompt is at the upper right of the window. This will personalize your support question and allow you to access your current and saved questions.

2. Browse for answers by clicking on any of the categories. Or:

3. Search the forums using the search box at the top right. Or;

4. Ask your own question in the forum by clicking the red "Start a new discussion" button. (note under Discussion Filters in the left column the link to you previous discussions under the link "Your Discussions").

Fill in the form with details of the issue and click the red button "Start your discussion". Responses to discussion questions arrive in the form of email to the email address entered in your Zotero account under "Settings".




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