Collecting, organizing, and citing your references

With Your Web Browser

Zotero connectors provide the ability to save references from most library catalogs (including the U of A's) and databases, and even some regular web pages, with one click.

Check the Zotero web site for a list of compatible sites.

If Zotero detects that you're looking at a book or article in a catalog, database, or a site like Google Books or the New York Times, you'll see a book or page icon appear in the address bar of your browser. For lists of items, a folder icon will appear.

The placement of the Zotero icon will depend on the browser you are using.

Zotero Icons for capturing a citation by browser;

Just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation or group of citations.

Collecting Citations: Library and Book Catalogs

Add a Single Book

Be sure you have Zotero running before collecting references. 

In OneSearch, WorldCat, Google Books, Amazon, or other book catalogs, look for the book icon at the top of your browser bar.

  1. Look for the book icon in the top of your browser bar.  Depending on your browser, it may be at the upper right or left. 
    Browser bar showing Zotero book link
  2. Click the link and a Zotero dialog box will open. Choose the folder or collection where you wish to save the item.
    Choose a Zotero folder or collection to store your citation.
  3. Your reference will be saved to your Zotero library.
    Zotero library with newly-added book citation


Add Multiple Records from a List

Be sure you have Zotero running before collection citations.  For lists of multiple items, click the folder icon in the browser bar to add all on the page or to select items from the list.

Zotero select multiple items from a search result.


Collecting Citations: Articles from Journals and Magazines

Add a Single Article

Be sure you have Zotero running before collecting citations. 
In library article databases and indexes, look for the article icon at the top of your browser bar.

Click the arrticleicon in your browser bar to add a single articleto your Zotero library.

Add Multiple Records from a List

For lists of multiple items, click the folder icon in the browser bar to add all on the page or to select items from the list.

Capturing multiple records from a page

Special Cases: Google Scholar

Google Scholar does not offer a detailed citation view so you must use the folder icon on the results list page and then choose the citations from the list to import into your Zotero library.

Zotero folder icon in Google Scholar

Collecting Citations: Other Web Sites

Other Web Sites  

Zotero for Firefox and Zotero Standalone with Firefox can add web page metadata from the browser button. You will have the option ot take a snapshot of the current page. aking a snapshot saves a copy of the page to your computer. It includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.

Add a web page option in Zotero for Firefox.

This feature has recently been added to the Chrome Zotero connector, as well, but is not yet available for Safari.  

Adding items by ISBN, DOI, or Other Identifier

Search by IdentifierHave the book in front of you and want to add it to your Zotero library without having to search for a citation?

If you have a book's ISBN, an online article's DOI or PMID number, just click the magic wand button: "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.

Create Citations from PDFs

It's easy to add PDFs to your Zotero library and automatically import their citation info.

Just drag your PDF files into the Zotero pane.

 Zotero will attempt retrieve citation data from Unpaywall and Google Scholar and turn the "naked" PDF into a full citation parent record with with PDF attachment.

If Zotero can't find a match on your PDF, don't worry -- you can still save the citation from another catalog or article database, then drag the PDF onto the citation to make it an attachment.

Create References Manually

Even if you can't import a citation automatically, you can add references for many different kinds of formats to your Zotero library.

Click on the green plus button on the Zotero toolbar and choose a format type. Click More... to go beyond books and articles.

More about creating references manually.


Create references manually with the green plus button

Troubleshooting: My Zotero Icons Don't Appear

  1. Make sure Zotero is running. 
  2. Make sure that you have installed the proper Zotero connector for your browser (Chrome, Firefox,Safari, or Edge).
  3. Using Firefox? We've found that sometimes the folder icon won't display unless you alter your security settings to allow cookies from Zotero. Under Settings > Privacy, uncheck Never Remember History and instead use custom settings.