Collecting, organizing, and citing your references

About Zotero

Zotero banner: "Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research."

Zotero Logo

Connect to Zotero at https://www.zotero.org.

What Zotero Does

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a free program that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use, lives in your web browser where you do your work, and best of all it's free. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies.

Zotero requires that you install two different applications on each computer you use for research:

  • the standalone Zotero program or app itself
  • the browser connector that works with Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge. 

Want to know more? See  this Zotero Quick Start Guide published by the Zotero developers. Also available as a PDF.

New: Zotero Web Library

With recent updates to Zotero you can manage and add items to your library using a web browser (without downloading the Zotero desktop program).  Add items from a web browser plugin, with a DOI, ISBN, or other standard number, or manually by creating a citation. The Zotero Web Library is ideal for lab or shared workstations where you may not want to take the time to set up local software. 

Note that the Web Library is missing some functionality you will find in the client:

  • There are no plugins for Word, Google Docs, etc. 
  • You don't have the option to save new items to a specific collection or folder; all new items go into "My Library" and then must be copied to the correct collection / folder. 

How to enable saving to your Web Library

  1. Login to your Zotero account at https://www.zotero.org/
  2. Choose Web Library
  3. The first time you try to add an item to your library via the web page, you will see a dialog from Zotero; choose the option to Enable Saving to Online Library.
    Zotero enable saving to online library
  4. Some web browsers, including Firefox, may ask you to enable saving with a one-time code.
  5. Thereafter, you can save and edit items in your library without configuring a local client version of the software. 

New: Zotero Mobile App

Zotero Mobile AppThe Zotero Mobile App for iOS is out of beta and is now available!

As with the Zotero Web Library, you can add and edit items in your Zotero App but there are not plugins for work processing. 


New! Annotate your PDFs

New with Zotero 6! 

 With the New Zotero PDF Viewer you can highlight and annotate PDFs right in your Zotero application. 

PDFs open in a new Zotero viewer tab, unless you choose in your preferences to keep Adobe as your default viewer.

  • Use the Highlighter tool to mark important text. 
  • Add sticky notes. 
  • Add annotations in a number of ways
    • Highlight a section ot the PDF in the viewer, then open the Notes pane (upper right) and add an annotation.

Read more at the Zotero support page:

About this Guide

Based on Jason Puckett's awesome Zotero Guide from Georgia State University.

Creative Commons License
Licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.