Skip to Main Content

Cite Your Sources: Zotero

Citation manuals, how-to pages, and tools.

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.

WATCH the video or READ the step-by step instructions with pictures below.

WATCH: How-To Video (Download & Use)

READ: Setting up your account (includes text and images)

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."

image of opened Zotero application. The Edit tab is open. A big red arrow is pointed at the word Preferences.    Opened Zotero application. There is a big red arrow pointed to an icon with two blue, curved arrows pointing at each other's ends with the word Sync below it.


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

A big red arrow pointed at the Zotero Sync icon on the top bar to the right. The icon is a green, curved arrow pointing in the direction going right.

Access articles through Goucher College Library journal subscriptions

Go to Edit > Preferences > Advanced

Copy & paste the following into the "Resolver" field, under "OpenURL":

Click OK. 

image of Zotero Preferences - Advanced OpenURL Resolver

When you start to populate your Zotero library, you can link to articles using Library Lookup.

To link to Goucher College Library journal subscriptions, highlight the reference and click "Library Lookup." You will either connect to the full text of the article or a listing of databases that contain the journal in which the article is located. If not located you should try Google Scholar  or you can order the article through Request Item on Interlibrary Loan.

image of Zotero Library Lookup. The icon is a green arrow pointing right. When clicked on, a drop-down menu displays the options Library Lookup, Google Scholar Search, and Manage Lookup Engines. Library Lookup is highlighted in yellow for this image only

Index PDFs

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

image Zotero Preferences window. The Search tab is an icon of a document with a magnifying glass over it with the word Search below it. A big red arrow pointing at the words 'Check for installer'

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

image of a drop-down menu with a big red arrow pointing at words Retrieve Metadata for PDF

READ: Using Zotero (text and images)

Add items into your Zotero Library using a unique identifier

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

image Zotero Unique Identifier icon which is a wand, black with two white ends, a spark at the right end, a white plus sign with a green border at the bottom right of the icon

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

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. 

image of a drop-down menu, Save to Zotero is highlighted in light-gray and displays another drop-down menu with options to Save to Zotero embedded metadata, DOI, webpage with snapshot, webpage without snapshot

Goucher College Library, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Baltimore, MD 21204 • 410-337-6360 • © 2013-2017 • Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.