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Citation: Zotero

About Zotero

screenshot of articles to read folder in Zotero's my libraryWhat is Zotero? What does it do?

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a downloadable program that automatically senses content in your web browser, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click. Whether you're searching a database or the library catalog, Zotero has you covered with support for thousands of sites.

Zotero collects al 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 wth just a few keystrokes.  

Using This Guide

This guide is several pages long -- use the tabs across the top to navigate through topics or the "Print Guide" link at the top of the page to print the whole guide.

Zotero Quick Start Guide

See also this great guide published by the Zotero developers themselves. Also available as a PDF.

Important Zotero Caveat

Zotero is a great tool that can make managing citations and creating bibliographies much easier, but it is not perfect. It may occasionally make mistakes importing data or piecing together citations, so you need to be familiar enough with your preferred citation style to proofread any content Zotero auto-generates.

Installing Zotero

Before you can use Zotero, you'll need to download two things:Screenshot of Zotero downloads page with options for windows and browser connections

  1. The Zotero application for your computer
  2. Zotero connector that allows your browser to save citation information to the application library

You can find both of these on the Zotero downloads page.

The website should automatically detect your operating system and whatever browser you're using at the time. If you plan to use Zotero with multiple browsers, you'll need to download the appropriate connector for each one.

Syncing Zotero

If you are using Zotero on more than one computer (maybe your laptop and a lab computer), Zotero's sync feature allows you to keep your library up to date and accessible on all of them. You can store your library on the Zotero server and access all of your files wherever you're doing your work. Note: All computers must be running the same version of Zotero.

The first step to syncing your Zotero library is to create a Zotero account (which is also used for the Zotero Forums). Then, open Zotero's Sync preferences tab and enter your login information in the Zotero Sync Server section. By default, Zotero will sync your data with the server whenever changes are made. To disable automatic syncing, uncheck the “Sync automatically” checkbox in this section.

circular arrow sync iconIn addition to automatic syncing, you can sync manually at any time by clicking the “Sync with Zotero Server” button on the right-hand side of the Zotero toolbar.

By default, Zotero will merge your local Zotero library with your library on—any changes you make in one place will be applied to the other and on all other synced computers. If an item has changed in multiple places between syncs, you'll receive a conflict resolution dialog asking which version you'd like to keep. In the rare case that you want to completely overwrite your server library with the contents of your local library or vice versa, you can use the Sync Reset Options.

For lab installers:

Remember, if you add Zotero on a lab computer and set up sync, your files will upload to the Zotero server and appear on your laptop or other computer, but the Zotero plug-in and library will be gone from the lab computer once you logout. This means you can easily access your documents wherever you are, but make sure you have sync turned on for both machines.

For more details and help troubleshooting sync problems, check the Zotero site.