Skip to Main Content

Zotero for Citation Management

Quick tips and helpful links for getting started with the open source citation manager, Zotero. Easily collect and organize your references, and generate dynamic citations and bibliographies as you write.

Organizing References in Zotero

decorative image.Collections (Folders)

Zotero calls its folder structure "collections." Collections allow for hierarchical organization of references, but references can also be in more than one collection simultaneously (without duplication).

  • To create a new collection, click the New Collection... button in the Zotero navigation pane.
  • Select a collection, then right click and choose New Subcollection... to add subcollections.

Items are automatically added to whatever collection is selected in Zotero when a citation is imported from the Zotero Connector, so make sure to select the collection you want before you begin saving citations. Citations can be dragged and dropped into different collections within Zotero after they have been added.

decorative image.Tags

References in Zotero can be tagged with keywords. To add tags to an item:

  1. Select the item you want to tag in Zotero
  2. Click the Tags tab in the right pane
  3. Click Add

Once your references are tagged with keywords, you can use the tag selector to view all items with a given tag or set of tags. Tags can also be color coded, which places a colored icon next to the item's title in the central pane.

Note: keywords may be supplied automatically as part of the import process. These can be deleted if you prefer to use your own keyword tags.

decorative image.Notes

Notes allow you to add notes or comments to item records in your Zotero library. To attach a note to a record:

  1. Select the record
  2. Choose the Notes tab in the right pane
  3. Click Add and add your note

Zotero also allows standalone notes, which are not attached to a specific item record but will appear in Zotero's central pane. To create a standalone note:

  1. Click the New Note button in the Zotero menu bar
  2. Choose New Standalone Note
  3. Add your note

decorative image.More Help

For more help organizing references, see Zotero's very thorough documentation.

Profile Photo
Dan Coffey
152 Parks Library