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Getting Started with Zotero

Quick tips and helpful links for managing citations with Zotero.

Adding References to Zotero

Adding from browser

If you installed the Zotero Connector for your browser, Zotero can automatically detect reference information on websites you visit. The icon for the Connector should appear somewhere in the toolbar of your chosen browser, and will change form depending on what Zotero is currently detecting. For example, a typical webpage will produce a page icon, while a page of Quick Search results will produce a folder icon.

To add a reference to Zotero:

  1. Open Zotero
  2. In your browser, navigate to the page you want to add
  3. Click the Zotero icon
  4. Zotero automatically adds reference information to your library

If you are using many search tools, including Google Scholar and the ISU Library's Quick Search, Zotero can detect information about multiple resources at once.

If you are using Quick Search:

  1. Make sure Zotero is running
  2. Click the Zotero icon while viewing Quick Search results in browser
  3. Use check boxes to select references
  4. Click OK
  5. Zotero automatically adds reference information to your library

Importing

Importing from another tool

If you are switching from another citation manager to Zotero, or have selected multiple references in a database:

  1. Export your citations from your previous software or database
  2. In Zotero, choose Import... from the File menu
  3. Select your file
  4. Click Open

If you wish to add a large number of citations to Zotero from a database, such as Google Scholar or one of the Library's subscription databases, you may want to batch export the items you want from the database and import that file into Zotero rather than using the Zotero connector. Most databases allow for citation information to be exported in a .RIS file, which can easily be imported into Zotero using steps 2-4 above.

Importing from a PDF

If you wish to extract bibliographic information from a PDF:

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Drag PDF into Zotero pane
  3. Zotero will automatically retrieve metadata for the PDF, if available
    • If you are using an older version of Zotero, you may need to install a plugin for this to work
    • This only works with PDFs which contain bibliographic metadata

Adding manually

Adding items by identifier

If you already know an identifier, such as ISBN or DOI, for the reference you want to add:

  1. In Zotero, click the Add Item by Identifier button (looks like a magic wand)
  2. Paste/type in the identifier
  3. Press Enter/Return

Adding items by hand

If you want to add all bibliographic information for a reference by hand:

  1. In Zotero, click the New Item button (green +)
  2. Select the type of item from the menu (this determines what information you're asked for)
  3. Manually enter information in the right pane of Zotero

Attachments

Attaching notes

To add a note to a reference:

  1. In Zotero, right click on the item and choose Add Note

Attaching files

To store a file, such as a PDF, as an attachment:

  1. In Zotero, right click on the item and choose Add Attachment...
  2. Choose Attach Stored Copy of File
  3. Select the file from your computer and click Open

Finding Full Text

When an item's record in Zotero contains a DOI, you can use the newest versions of Zotero to automatically find a PDF and add it as an attachment:

  1. Add the citation for the item you want to Zotero
  2. In Zotero, right click on the item and choose Find Available PDF

Zotero will then search for a legal PDF copy using a combination of direct access (for subscription journals) and Unpaywall (for Open Access versions). This means ISU users should be able to find PDFs through the Library's subscriptions by using Zotero from on campus. You can also configure Proxy preferences for off-campus access.

More Help

For more help adding items, see Zotero's very thorough documentation.

Erin Thomas's picture
Erin Thomas
Contact:
150 Parks Library
Iowa State University
515 294-9886