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Zotero citation management

How to effectively use Zotero, the citation management software

There are many ways to add materials to your Zotero Library. Each box below describes some of the most-used methods to add books, online articles, websites, and more. Zotero's Quick Start Guide offers details on "Getting Stuff Into your Library," too.

Add Items by DOI, ISBN, or other identifier

Copy & paste an identifier

If you have a book's ISBN or an online article's DOI or PMID number, click the magic wand button: "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.

Add with PDFs

Drag & drop PDFs

If you already have PDFs saved from past research, just drag and drop them from a desktop folder into your Zotero library. Zotero will automatically search online and match the PDFs with citations if possible.

This method only works effectively with metadata-embedded PDFs, not scanned documents. 

Collect online citations with Connector

Click the browser Connector

Zotero's Connector identifies when you are on a web page with documents, citations, or other research materials that you can save in your Zotero Library. When you click on the Zotero Connector icon in your browser (see image at right), you can save the information from that page into your Zotero Library.

TIP #1: Make sure your Zotero library is open before you try to save into it with the Connector.

TIP #2: When saving citations from online sources, be sure to double-check the author names and other details in the Info tab of the right-side column of your Zotero Library. They often need some correction by hand. Checking the bibliographic details while you still have the online source open in front of you can save you time later if you plan to export the citations in reference lists.

Add web sites as citations

Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from some web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library.

Right-click anywhere in your browser and choose "Save to Zotero" from the menu. This will save a new "web page" item to your library. You can add information about the author, etc., if you wish.

This will also attach a snapshot of the page to the citation. Taking a snapshot saves a copy of the page to your computer. It includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.


Add items by hand

Adding Items Manually

There may be times when you need to add an item to your library by hand.  If so, use the green "plus" icon and choose the type of item from the drop-down list.  A window will open with the appropriate fields to complete for that item type.