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Zotero: Citation Management Tool

What does Zotero Do?

  • Zotero automatically identifies content in your web browser (whether its a JSTOR article, story on a news site, or book from a library catalog), and allows you to add it to your personal library with a single click.
  • Zotero collects all your research in a single, searchable interface.
  • You can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and really anything else. Zotero automatically indexes the full-text content of your library, so you can search for material later on.

Quick Help Links


Cite - Generating Bibliographies and Reports

If you use Microsoft Word or LibreOffice/OpenOffice, Zotero's word processor integration allow you to add citations and bibliographies directly from your documents.

If you just want to quickly add references to a paper, email, or blog post, Zotero's drag-and-drop Quick Copy is the easiest to go:

  1. Simply select items in the center column and drag them into any text field. Zotero will automatically create a formatted bibliography for you.
  2. To copy citations instead of references, hold down Shift at the start of the drag. 
  3. To configure your Quick Copy preferences, follow the instructions on this page.

To create a bibliography or a citations list in Zotero:

  1. ​Highlight one or more references and then right-click (or control-click on Macs) to select “Create Bibliography from Selected Item(s)…”.
  2. Then select a citation style for your citation/bibliography format and choose either to create a list of Citations/Notes or a Bibliography.
  3. Then choose the option you want for generating your citation/bibliography (eg.Rich text, HTML, etc).

What is Zotero?

Using Zotero

Collect - Adding Items to your Zotero Library

If you use Zotero for Firefox or have installed Zotero Connectors for Chrome, Safari, or Opera, Zotero will try to automatically find bibliographic information on the web pages you visit.* For instance, if you are looking at the record for a book in an online library catalog, Zotero's save button in the Firefox toolbar will often switch the icon a book. On some web pages that list information about multiple items (e.g. a list of Google Scholar search results), Zotero will show a folder icon. Clicking this folder icon will open a window in which you can select the items that you want to save to your library. (Visit this page for more detailed info).

*Caution: Verify and Edit your records. Zotero's automatic citations are not always complete or accurate.

You can also manually add and edit items in your Zotero library. 

  • To manually add an item to your Zotero library, click the green “New Item” (+) button at the top of the center column, and select the desired item type from the drop-down menu (the top level of the menu shows recently created item types; the complete list of item types, minus Web Page, can be found under “More”). An empty item of the selected item type will now appear in the center column. You can then manually enter the item's bibliographic information via the right column.

Adding journal articles:

  • Journal articles are often cited with the abbreviated journal title. Zotero stores the journal title and journal title abbreviation in separate fields (“Publication” and “Journal Abbr”, respectively). While some citation styles require different abbreviations, most of the variation is in whether or not the abbreviation contain periods (e.g., “PLoS Biol” or “PLoS Biol.”). Because removing periods is more accurate than adding them, we recommend that you store title abbreviations in your Zotero library with periods. Zotero can then reliably strip out the periods in rendered bibliographies when the chosen citation style calls for it.

Adding web links:

  • Clicking the label of the URL (“URL:”) and DOI (“DOI:”) fields will open up the (DOI-resolved) URL in your web browser.

Performing + Narrative Arts Librarian

Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom

Contact me by email or chat (send me a Google Hangouts invite). Or let's talk about your research or information need on Google Meet or Zoom!


Organizing your Zotero Library and Taking Notes

Items in Zotero libraries can be organized with collections and tags.

  • “Collections” allow hierarchical organization of groups of items, in advance of adding items to your library. Item may be placed in multiple locations (sub-collections) in your library collection. Items may then be retrieved by “drilling down” into the hierarchy.
  • “Tags” (also called “keywords” in other contexts) allow for detailed characterization of an item, and have the unique advantage of allowing the formation of ad-hoc collections after adding items to your library (e.g., one can use tags to locate items tagged “Sumarian” + “history”, and so on.)

Tags are portable, but collections are not: copying individual items between Zotero libraries will transfer their tags, but not their collection placements. Both organizational schemas have unique advantages. Experiment with both to see what works best for your own workflow.

For more details on tagging and adding/removing items in collections visit this page

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