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Zotero: Introduction

Zotero is a free extension for your web browser that acts as a citation management system. You can save, organize, format your citations in your paper, and more.

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Zotero User Guide

Downloading Free Software

First, if you are using a PC, you must download and install either the Chrome browser or the Firefox browser. I recommend Chrome.

link with Chrome browser icon to download site

Second, download and install Zotero 5 for your operating system (macOS, Linux, Windows). Zotero 5 was released July 2017.

Third, download and install the Zotero Connector for your browser. You may choose the Safari browser, as well. The Zotero-Word plug-in is built into Zotero 5's connector. If you are upgrading, make sure to back-up your old Zotero library first. 

  Logos of chrome and zotero from zotero web page. Choose this to download.

Getting Acquainted

After installation, open Zotero then open your browser. In your browser, you will see a Zotero icon in the upper-right corner.  It might look like a Web page icon, an article icon, or a book icon. There are other icons, but those are the most common.

Shows three buttons which are: Article, Web Page, and Book

Zotero is organized into three adjustable panels.

Screen capture of three panels

 
 
view of creating new collection in My Library

The left panel organizes the groups of citations. To create a new folder in the library, right click on the "My Library" icon and select "New Collection." Whatever folder is highlighted when you begin to capture citations is the folder where the citations will be stored.

 

 

 

 

The middle panel shows a list of the citations in a folder, which users may drag and drop from one folder to another.

Screen capture of folder's list of citations

 

The right panel displays a close-up of an citation, allows editing of the citation, and has additional tools such as notes and tags. Click in any of the fields to edit as necessary, such as with Web page citations.

Screen capture of citation record

 

Notes tab circled in red with a red arrow pointing to the "Add" button. Also,  the notes under the parent citation.

 

The Notes tab can be very useful for taking notes as you read or hold a discussion in class about an item. Notes are unlimited and use a rich text format, so you can use options such as bold, center, etc. Each note is automatically saved to the citation it was created under and alphabetically sorts under that citation. The name is the first few words you type in the note.

 

 

 

icons used in the Note tab, which uses rich text file (rtf) formatting options

 

 

 

 

Tags tab circled in red with sample tags below

Tags are often imported from the database from the subjects or subject headings of that database, so don't be surprised if you see tags attached to a citation. You may add your own tags using the "Add" button. These can include your own words and phrases for subjects, the name of the professor, the class, and the quarter. Tags such as these will help you find material a quarter or more later when you have forgotten all else.

 

 

 

You may then search using the tags attached to the citations using Zotero's quick search.

The quick searchbox circled in red in the Zotero toolbar

 

 

 

related tab circled in red

The Related tab allows you to create mutual connections between citations so that each will appear in the other's Related tab. 

 

 

 

 

Subject Guide

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Lisa Bartle
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