19 Citation Management with Zotero

Using Zotero

There are many citation managers to chose from, but Zotero is recommended for the following reasons:

  • Zotero is free (you can pay for more storage space)
  • Zotero is open-source and run by a non-profit
    • Many popular citation managers are run by publishers that use your data for profit
  • Zotero has a great support
  • Zotero is easy to use
Download Zotero

Download the two components of Zotero at https://www.zotero.org/download/

  • Zotero Desktop: where you can see and organize your citations
Image of the zotero desktop program
  • Zotero Connector: a browser plugin that automatically detects content as you browse the web and allows you to save it to Zotero with a single click
Image of the zotero connector plug in
Zotero icon changes depending on what type of material you are looking at. A folder for a list of items and a paper for a journal article.
Add items to Zotero

There are two main ways to add item to Zotero

  • Zotero Connector
    • Use the Zotero button to automatically add materials to Zotoro
    • If you are looking at a series of search results, you can bulk add to Zotero
    • If you are on a webpage that includes the pdf of an article, Zotero will automatically download the article
Image of the zotero connector plug in
  • Adding pdfs
    • You can manually drag-and-drop pdfs into the main window of Zotero desktop to add those item to Zotero
Organizing with Zotero

In the Zotero desktop you can:

  • Create folders to organize your resources
  • Add tags and notes to items
  • Search by keyword to find your resources
Cite with Zotero

To cite with LaTeX see the next chapter.

To cite in Word or Open Office:

  • Enable to Zotero plug in
    • Go to Tools > Add-ons and choose your plug in (you may need to restart your computer)
  • Use the Zotero tool bar to add citations and create a bibliography

To cite in Google Docs:

  • Using the Zotero connector will automatically add a Zotero menu in Google Docs
  • Use the menu to add citations and create a bibliography
Zotero Help

Zotero Quick Start Guide – Guide to help you get started with Zotero

Zotero Support – For more in depth help



Always double check that your citations are correct, even when you use a citation manager

  • If a citation manager has the wrong information, you citation will be incorrect
  • Always update or edit citation information in Zotero to correct your citation
    • If you edit a citation in Word or Google Docs, the edit will be undone when you refresh.



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Advanced Library Skills for Physics Research by Lauren Stieglitz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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