Skip to main content
Rare book room

Zotero: Home

A guide to using Zotero, a free citation manager and personal library of research findings.

About Zotero

Zotero bills itself as a "personal research assistant". It helps you collect, organize, format, and display citations for your papers and presentations. It can hold your notes and save snapshots of web pages and PDFs of articles so that you can easily refer to them again. It works from multiple devices and multiple web browsers. In short, Zotero can make your academic and pastoral life that much easier. This guide will show you how.

For a wonderful in-depth guide check out our friends at Georgia State University Library HERE.

Download Zotero

Your first decision with Zotero is about how you want to use it: as a plug-in within the Mozilla Firefox web browser or as a standalone program that works with your web browser of choice (among Chrome, Safari, or Firefox). Each option works similarly, but there are a few differences; for example, the Mozilla plug-in option tends to work better with proxies for licensed resources, while the standalone tends to save items more quickly. Further directions for all options can be found on the Zotero download page.

1. Download the Zotero program (.dmg for Mac, .exe for Windows); Zotero is pretty good about detecting what type of computer you are using and offering the correct program.

2. Download the extension for your web browser of choice (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera); again, Zotero will try to detect the web browser you are using at the time of download and offer you the appropriate choice.

Note that if you are using a device to which you cannot download programs, you can still use the Zotero bookmarklet to save information from a site you are viewing. This is helpful to note when using mobile or tablet browsers also.

Depending on your computer settings, you may need to clear your browser cache, restart your browser, or restart your computer before you see both Zotero and an active web browser.

3.Download the plug-in for your word processing program in order to use for bibliographies and citations while writing papers. If you are using the standalone program, you can do this from the Cite pane of Zotero. If you are using Mozilla Firefox, download the plug-in from this page.

4. Set up a free online account at Zotero.org. This syncs with your standalone program to provide a backup of your data and also allows you to save items on the go and access your saved resources if you're away from your normal device.

Subject Guide