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Citation Management with Zotero

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

Open or Close References

To make all the parts of items visible in the center pane, such as PDF attachments or web snapshots, select an item in the center pane, use the plus key on your keyboard... collapse all items, use the minus key.

Locate More Information About and the Full-Text of References

The Locate menu, the green arrow drop-down menu at the top of the right-hand pane in the Zotero client, helps you get additional information about references already in your library. It can also help you locate the full-text of article citations.

Here are three lookup options you'll likely see in the menu:

"Library Lookup"

  • If you used the instructions in the Get Started tab → Configure Our "Library Links" in Preferences, you'll see Library Lookup as one of your choices in the Locate menu.
  • When you select a reference, click the Locate arrow, and choose this, Zotero will check to see if our library has the full-text of the article you need. If not, you can follow the usual steps from there to request it by interlibrary loan. However you get it, you can download the full-text and drag and drop it on top of the Zotero entry in order to save it with the entry.

"CrossRef Lookup"

  • When you select a reference in your library, click the green Locate arrow, and choose this, Zotero will try to find the DOI (digital object identifier, or unique identifying number) of the article.
  • If this lookup works, you may want to import the information from that lookup using the Zotero button, then merge the new citation with its duplicate, since it will likely have more publication details (see the next box for details).

"Google Scholar Search"

  • This does the same thing as the CrossRef Lookup, but using Google Scholar as the search engine.

Find and Merge Duplicates

It's important to have only one copy of each reference in your library. Usually, Zotero automatically locates duplicates so you can easily merge duplicate references at any time.

To merge duplicates:

  1. In the left-hand pane, select "Duplicate Items."

  2. Select one of the references in the center pane. Zotero will automatically co-select anything it perceives as a duplicate.

  3. Now look to the right-hand pane. If necessary, Zotero will ask you which reference should be the master copy, and will allow you to modify specific parts of the reference if needed before the merge.

  4. Click on "Merge # items" at the top.

Zotero may not automatically find all your duplicates, so you may find it useful to sort your library by title occasionally to catch any additional ones.

Add Notes to References

Zotero allows you to add notes to the references you collect. These are known as "child notes" since they're directly connected to a reference.

To create a note for a reference:

  1. Select one of your references in the center pane.

  2. There are several different ways to do this from here.

    One, go to the "Notes" tab in the right-hand pane then click "Add."

    Or, click on the sticky note icon at the top of the middle pane and select "Add Child Note."

    You can also just right-click a reference in the middle pane and choose "Add Note."

Notes can be seen as attachments under individual references, support formatted text (e.g. italics), and can contain web links. They are searchable as part of your Zotero library. Notes also save as you type.

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