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Zotero

An easy, flexible, and free reference tool.

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Andrew Greenman
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Bender Library, bottom floor
(202) 885-3850
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What is Zotero?

Zotero logo and link to zotero.orgWhat Zotero does

  1. Zotero is a combination of a desktop app (sometimes called "the standalone"), a browser add-on or plug-in, and a cloud synced version of your library at zotero.org
  2. Zotero can detect and import reference information ("metadata") from almost all databases and many websites to automatically create "items" that store this information for you. Article PDFs linked on databases pages are automatically downloaded and attached to the corresponding item - you'll never need to search old downloads for a PDF again! This makes saving sources as easy as clicking a button.
  3. Zotero integrates with word processing programs like Word, Google Docs, and OpenOffice to insert citations into your documents and bibliographies at the end. Zotero supports all major citation styles and over 10,000 more - you can find out more about the Zotero Style Repository and adding additional citation styles to Zotero on the "Citation Styles" page.
  4. Zotero helps organize your research. Items you save to Zotero can be sorted into collections, tagged, and linked to other items.
  5. Zotero has a built-in PDF reader and annotater so you can read and mark up papers without needing to use another app.
  6. Zotero has a cloud functionality that syncs your library across multiple computers and lets you create group libraries to collaborate with groups of peer or colleague researchers.

Installing Zotero

To download the Zotero desktop app & browser connector

  1. Go to the Zotero Website & click the large red "Download" button in the middle of the page.
  2. The blue boxes on the download page contain your download links. Be sure to both download and install the desktop app and install the extension or plug-in for your preferred browser.
  3. If prompted, click "Allow" to continue installing the desktop app.
  4. Recommended: take a few minutes to read the official Zotero Quick Start Guide once all downloads are complete.
  5. Optional: Install the Zotero iOS app if you have an Apple mobile device or tablet.

You can see the official Zotero installation instructions, including instructions for installing Zotero on Chromebooks, Linux, and other operating systems, here: zotero.org/support/installation.

Zotero: Introduction and Setting Up

This video was made for an earlier version of Zotero and some things have changed. Please review the following corrections:

  • 1:06 - Zotero now has connectors for all major browsers, including Microsoft Edge, the successor to Internet Explorer.
  • 2:33 - The green plus sign is an alternative way to add new items manually if there is no electronic record of them to pull metadata from using the connector.
  • 3:00 - Pdftotext now comes built in to Zotero, it's no longer a separate plug-in, and Zotero will automatically try to retrieve metadata and create a reference item for PDFs dragged or copy and pasted into the app.