We strongly recommend regularly backing up your Zotero library, along with any important research, class-related, or personal materials you may have.
While you can sync your library with the Zotero servers by using a Zotero account (see how here), syncing is no substitute for regularly backing up. The most recent version of your library is the only one stored on Zotero's servers, and one automatic sync can change the entire copy on the server, making it easy to lose work or corrupt your synced data.
You can easily export a copy of your Zotero library by going to Files > Export Library and choosing "Zotero RDF" and checking the boxes for both "Export Notes" as well as "Export Files."
This is not a true backup of your library, though! For a true backup of your library, see the instructions below.
In order to back up your Zotero library, follow these steps:
Your back up is only as good as your back up schedule. If you do not have a program to automate your back ups (e.g. Time Machine on Macs), make sure you regularly do your back ups to ensure you always have up-to-date data. Put a repeating event on your calendar to remind yourself!
|Windows 7 and higher||
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Zotero
In Zotero 4.0, the easiest way to locate your data directory is to go into the Advanced tab within your Preferences window:
Your Zotero data directory contains several files and directories. The two most important things in there are:
Warning: Before you do anything to any files in your Zotero data directory, including moving, deleting, or copying, make sure Zotero is closed. Failure to do so can lead to damage to your Zotero database.