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Zotero at MIT: Zotero

What is Zotero?

Zotero is:

  • a research tool that helps users collect and organize sources.
  • a free, open-source program that can be downloaded as a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari and as a standalone program that works with Windows, Mac, or Linux systems.
Zotero icon

For many major databases and websites, the program can tell when a list of books or articles is displayed by showing an icon in the address bar, so citation information can be saved with just a few clicks.

zotero toolbar

 

Zotero can help you:

  • Annotate and organize research results, including video.
  • Save information about a reference, including author, title, and other publication information.
  • Create libraries and save searches, and share collections with other people.
  • Attach files, links, notes, and PDFs to records.
  • Store a screenshot of a web page.
  • Export information as formatted citations in word processing programs (Word, Open Office, Google Docs).
  • Tag and sort records and perform advanced searches.
  • View records in personal collection when offline.
  • Cite records in any language.

Ups and downs of using Zotero

Pros:

  • Great for importing records for non-traditional references, like wikis and websites.
  • Helps to organize web screenshots and PDFs. You can make PDFs searchable by choosing to index them in the preferences menu. 
  • Easily imports records from many of the resources you already use.
  • The program lives where you already do most of your research, in the browser.
  • Imports records from several major databases that won't work with EndNote & Mendeley, including Factiva, USPTO, Espacenet, & FreePatentsOnline.
  • It's user-friendly.
  • Easily retrieves PDF metadata, like title and author information.
  • Great for creating bibliographies in OpenOffice.org.
  • Synchronizes collections among multiple computers & backs up data.
  • Offers option to create user profiles and groups, so you can share your collection.
  • Detects proxy servers automatically, making off-campus access to library databases easier.

Cons:

  • Need to pay for extra storage space.

Download Zotero

To use Zotero with a word processing program, there are 2 pieces of software to install:

If you want the Zotero program to open in Firefox, download Zotero for Firefox and the Word plugin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are using Chrome, Safari, or want to use the standalone version of Zotero with Firefox, download Zotero for Windows and the browser extension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are using Standalone you need to open it before downloading citations. Otherwise the programs will look and work the same.

Use Google Docs with Zotero

To insert a Zotero reference in Google Docs, use keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Open your Google Doc and your Zotero library.
  2. In your Zotero window, click on the record you want to cite. 
    1. To copy an end-of-document reference, use keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+C. 
    2. To copy an in-text citation, use keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+A.
  3. Paste it into your Google Doc.
  4. To add a bibliography at the end of your document, in Zotero, select the citations you used, right-click, select “Create Bibliography from Selected Items,” and choose “Export to Clipboard.” Then paste into Google Docs.

Learn more on the Zotero help page.