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Citation Management with Zotero

Learn to use Zotero to manage your references and associated digital files.

Caveats for Any Citation Management Tool

Accurate citations depend upon accurate data. Zotero, like any other citation manager, will produce citations based on the data has, and if there are errors or omissions in that data, the citations will be incomplete or inaccurate. Spending a few minutes checking over and editing references as you import them will make your experience much better in the long-term. 

Common issues with citations include stray characters and capitalization issues. Most of those you have to manually edit, but there is one that Zotero will help you fix. You probably know which type of capitalization (Title Case vs. Sentence case) your most frequently used style prefers. To make that change quickly, select the item you want to modify in the center pane. In the right-hand pane, right-click the Title of the source and select Title Case or Sentence case to have the title reformatted. You can do the same with the Publication name if necessary.

Add References Using Zotero Connector

In most cases, you'll use the Zotero icon in your browser bar to add references to your library. When you're looking at something in your browser that you want to add, just click on the icon in your browser (and make sure the Zotero program is open).

The icon that displays will depend on the type of item on the page. For example, it may show up as page with bright colors for a magazine article...

or a page with lines for a journal article.

When there are multiple references, like on a page of search results, you'll most likely see a folder icon.

Click the icon to bring up a box that will let you select a single item or to select items from a list.

If you have folders in your library, a little pop up box near the icon will ask you where you want to save your item/s.

When saving web pages to your library, Zotero will save the citation as well as a snapshot of the page (unless you've turned this off in your preferences). If there's a PDF file on the page you're viewing, or you're currently viewing one in your browser, Zotero will import the PDF as well as the citation.

Add References from BrowZine

If you use the Browzine mobile app, use the Share button and select Zotero to add the citation, and the PDF if available, to your library.

add reference from BrowZine mobile

If you use the web version of BrowZine, use the graduation cap icon to add the citation to your library; you'll have to manually download and drag and drop the PDF to obtain it.

add reference from BrowZine web

Add References Manually

Within the Zotero client, there are a few ways to add items:

  1. Click the magic wand icon to add a reference using an ISBN (for a book) or a DOI (for an article or chapter). Zotero also accepts identifying article information like PMIDs or arXiv IDs.

  2. Click the green plus sign to manually add a new reference by typing in citation details.
  3. Drag and drop a PDF into Zotero. If you already have an entry for the item, drop the PDF on top of the title. If there's not already an entry, no worries! Drop it in between already existing items and Zotero will automatically make an entry for it if it can. Be sure to modify it for accuracy.

    If Zotero cannot automatically make an entry for a PDF you just dropped into the program, and you have something like an ISBN or DOI, try the first approach above then drag and drop the PDF over the newly created entry.

Add Journal Feeds

Health Sciences and Engineering Librarian

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Kari Mofford
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Claire T. Carney Library
Room 238
285 Old Westport Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747