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Zotero: Overview

Learn more about Zotero, an open source citation manager.

What is Zotero?

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.

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, enabling you to find exactly what you're looking for with just a few keystrokes.

Note: If you have used Zotero to redirect links through the proxy server, you will need to disable this feature. As of November 30, 2021, we are no longer using the proxy server to connect to subscription resources from off campus. Instead, we are using OpenAthens.

Learn more about OpenAthens.  Learn how to disable Zotero's link redirection. 

In this Guide:

Setting up your account

  • Sync your account
  • Add PDFs from your computer

Using Zotero

  • Add items using a unique identifier
  • Add items  using Zotero Connector 
  • Add Available PDFs to items

Download Zotero

If you are downloading Zotero to a personal computer, you can download Zotero for Mac, Windows and Linux from Zotero.org.


Zotero Documentation

Zotero Connector

Easily save items from the Web into Zotero with a single click.

Download Zotero Connector for Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

Setting up your account

To get the most out of Zotero, we have a few recommendations for how to set up your account.


Sync your account

Sync your accounts to ensure that you have access to your most updated Zotero libraries no matter which computer you are using. 

Go to Edit > Preferences > Sync

Sign into your account and click "Set up syncing."

Zotero preferences    Zotero sync

 

Click the green round arrow key to prompt Zotero to sync your libraries for the first time. After this, your libraries should sync automatically.

Zotero Sync


Add PDFs to your Zotero Library from your computer

Drag & drop PDFs into Zotero and use the PDF Indexing Installer to find the metadata, i.e. author, title, and publication information.

Go to Edit > Preferences > Search > Check for Installer

Zotero PDF Indexer

After you drag a PDF into Zotero, right click on the file and select "Retrieve Metadata for PDF."

Zotero PEF Metadata


Using Zotero

View Zotero's support page to learn more about adding items to your Zotero Library


Add items into your Zotero Library using a unique identifier

Add references by copying and pasting and ISBN, DOI, PMID or other unique identifier.

Zotero Unique Identifier

You can also import RIS, BibTeX or other citation files, or use Zotero Connector. 

More information can be found here


Add items to your Zotero Library using Zotero Connector 

Use Zotero Connector in Chrome, Firefox and Safari to quickly add references from websites. Right-click on a webpage and select "Save to Zotero." Depending on the type of reference you want to add, you will see different options for saving. 

 


Add Available PDFs to items in your Zotero Library

Retrieve the full text PDFs of articles in your Zotero Library using the Find Available PDF feature. To use the feature, highlight the article(s) that you want to get the PDFs for, right click on the highlighted list and select "Find Available PDFs."  

Zotero will search for open-access PDFs using data from Unpaywall and attaches the PDF to your item. Note that item in Zotero needs to have a DOI or URL associated with reference in order for this work. Learn more.

FInd Available PDFs in Zotero

If the PDF cannot be retrieved through this lookup, use the instructions above to access articles through MCW Libraries journal subscriptions. 

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