Zotero is a free application to manage your scholarly references; for background, see the Zotero website, and for an overview of the Zotero interface, click on the diagram at right. Here are some cool things you can do with Zotero:
- Instantly add references from a web search on lots of sites
- Share references with a group
- Drag .pdf publications into your personal library… then automatically retrieve citation data!
- Instantly create bibliographies in Word, Moodle, WordPress, etc., using a bunch of styles
Zotero has really good documentation; make sure to read it for starters, and feel free to refer to our pointers below.
- First, you will need to get a Zotero account at zotero.org. Go to the Zotero registration page and fill out the form, using your institutional email address.
- Once you get this account, go to your profile settings at zotero.org and make sure to enter your name and affiliation (your college) so we can identify you! You’ll use this account for both your own references (your own personal library) and those you’ll share with the shared group libraries.
- You may always join other libraries at zotero.org by going to Groups > Browse all Groups or Search for Groups. (If you are joining a private library, you'll need to be invited, e.g., by your instructor.) When you add a group library, it will show up under Group Libraries in Zotero, and all items will automatically be synced to it once your sync settings are finalized (see below).
- Next, you will need to download and install the Zotero application. Click on the red download button on the Zotero homepage. Download and install two apps: (a) the standalone application for your computer, and (b) the connector for your browser. You may also install (c) the Microsoft Word plugin if you want, which allows you to automatically cite references and compile your bibliography.
- Once the download is complete, you will need to restart your browser and launch the standalone application.
Note that you can simply sign up for a Zotero account and use the Zotero app on a shared computer, but it's generally better to setup Zotero on your own computer, as most shared computers are wiped daily. Once you do the above setup, and below configuration, on your own computer you'll never have to do it again!
- Go to Zotero Preferences (you access Preferences with the little machine-gear button in Zotero)
- In the General tab, uncheck the bottom Miscellaneous box Automatically tag items with keywords and subject headings. (It becomes a nuisance.) The other boxes can remain checked.
- In the Sync tab, enter your Zotero account, and make sure Sync automatically is checked. By doing this, you will readily (a) sync your personal collection and access it anywhere, and (b) connect to group libraries you belong to. See here for details on syncing.
- You will also want to set the default style of your references by going to the Export tab and selecting the Default Output Format. If the style you need is not listed, go to Cite > Styles and click Get Additional Styles. Download the style you want and install it to Zotero.
- Finally, in preferences go to Advanced > General > OpenURL, and enter the following resolver to quickly look up references via our library system: https://primo.lclark.edu/ primo-explore/openurl?vid=LCC& institution=LCC&
Look for and add new references
You can add references to Zotero in several nifty ways:
- Most commonly, you will be browsing or searching online (e.g., the New York Times or a reference database). When you find a reference of interest, just click the browser connector icon/button (depending on your browser it looks different) to add it automatically to your library. (Note that, if your Zotero standalone is open, the reference is added to whichever library you've currently selected.)
- Sometimes you already have a PDF file of a reference. To add it, just drag it into your Zotero library. Next, right-click on the PDF and select Retrieve Metadata for PDF (you may need to do some quick setup the first time you use this feature): in many cases Zotero will automatically find all reference metadata for you!
- Last, the least nifty: you can always manually add a reference. This is boring but sometimes necessary. Make sure to add the correct reference type!
Once you've found references, you can group them into collections or add tags to organize them. If you'd like to see if our library has a copy (and you've followed configuration step #5 above), just click the Locate arrow toward the top right of Zotero and select Library Lookup.
Use Zotero in a paper and your DS site
Once you’ve done all the above, you may wish to apply these references to a document or a WordPress post. The easy way is to select desired references in the middle pane of your Zotero window and drag them into an open document or post. As long as you have filled in all the metadata and selected the export style, the references should show up exactly how you want them! If you're using Word you can try the harder (and better) way, using a Zotero plugin in which you'll add citations then automatically compile your bibliography in any style you wish; here's a quick user guide to the Word plugin.
You can also display references in a post or page on your DS site using a plugin called Zotpress. Here's how to set up ZotPress on your site:
- Activate the Zotpress plugin (Plugins > ZotPress).
- Obtain your API key by logging into Zotero and going to Settings > Feeds/API > Create a New Private Key.
- Give your key a description, then save your key. This will allow others on the internet to view the personal and group libraries that you choose without logging into your account.
- Navigate to your Dashboard, then click Zotpress.
- If this is your first time setting up Zotpress, click Next. From there:
- If you are accessing your personal Zotero library (i.e. not a shared group library), choose User for Account Type, then type in the userID and private key provided on the Feeds/API page. Click Validate.
- If you are accessing a group library, go to the Accounts menu and click Add New Account. Select Group as the Account Type. In the User ID field, enter the 1–6 digit number found after "groups" in your Zotero group's URL (access your group at Zotero.org in order to see this). Then enter the private key provided on the Feeds/API page. Click Validate.
- Choose the chicago-author-date style (recommended; others available as well) and click Set Default Style. Click Finish.
- Navigate to the Browse tab under Zotpress. You should see the collection you imported with the Collection Key.
To insert an annotated bibliography (with your annotation included in the Abstract field), you will need to use shortcode (ideally via the text vs. visual editor) such as the following (see more shortcodes via Zotpress > Help):
[zotpress collection="collectionIDHere" sortby = "author" style="chicago-author-date" abstracts="yes"]
Enter the Collection Key where it says “collectionIDHere.” There are two ways to find the Collection Key. If you bring up your desired Zotero library within zotero.org, the Collection Key is the final string of roughly 8 numbers and letters in the URL. Alternatively, in WordPress go to Zotpress > Browse and select your library from the drop-down box. The Collection Key will be displayed above the list of references.
*Note: If you are using Zotpress with a group library, you’ll need to set it up carefully. When you add your API key, make sure that at least “Allow library access” is checked, and “Default Group Permissions” is set at least to “Read Only” (or you can do this for your specific group below). Then in ZotPress, when you add the account make sure “Account Type” is set to Group, and the User ID is set to your group ID (help on how to find that at right in Zotpress). When you add the Zotpress shortcode, it will be a bit different. Here is one sample that works: [zotpress userid="GroupIDHere" sortby="author" style="apa" abstracts="yes"].
You can access and use your Zotero library on iOS and Android devices via a number of mobile apps; one we recommend is the iOS app ZotPad. Just install the app, login to your Zotero account, choose the libraries you want to sync, and go! See here for main features, or read the user manual for more information.