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Zotero for Citation Management

Manage your research and create bibliographies with Zotero.

Save a Source from Your Browser

To save a source to Zotero:

  1. Open Zotero.
  2. In your browser, search for books, articles, videos, websites, or other sources.
  3. Click on the Save to Zotero icon (looks like a book, sheet of paper, webcam, etc. depending on the source type). You will see a confirmation message in the bottom right of your screen when the item is saved. 
Most common icon types for various media using Zotero connector.

Folder - this will allow you to ingest multiple records simultaneously (e.g. Google Scholar, JSTOR, - any place where multiple results are returned from a search)

Record - this icon will appear at the individual article level (e.g. a single article in JSTOR)

Newspaper - relates to a newspaper article (e.g. NY Times article)

Book - when looking at a single book in any library catalog or in Amazon

NOTE: If you're attempting to save sources from JSTOR, you must first agree to JSTOR's Terms of Service by clicking on "Download PDF" for one article first. After agreeing to these TOS, you can then use browser connector as normal with JSTOR to download both bibliographic information as well as PDFs.

Add a PDF

To add a PDF (already on your computer) to Zotero:

  1. Open Zotero.
  2. Drag and drop PDF files into your Zotero main window.
  3. Right click on the PDF you have added.
  4. Click "Retrieve metadata for PDF" (if this is the first time you are doing this, you will need to install the pdf2text tool).
  5. If you get a green checkmark in the resulting window, you're all set! Double check the metadata that Zotero has found.
  6. If you get a red X, Zotero was not able to retrieve metadata for your file. Enter the information by hand by right clicking and choosing "Create parent item" for your PDF.

Add a Source by Hand

To create a Zotero record by hand:

  1. Open Zotero.
  2. Click the New Item icon (looks like a + sign in a green circle).
  3. Choose the source type (e.g., book, article).
  4. Enter the appropriate information about your source.


If this is the first time you used Zotero, please follow these steps:

  1. Is Zotero open? If not, open Zotero on your computer.
  2. Is Zotero in the list of your browser's available extensions? If not, return to the Zotero download page and install the appropriate browser extension.
  3. Did you restart your browser after installing Zotero? If not, restart your browser.
  4. Still having problems? Contact a librarian or visit Zotero's support documentation.

If you do not see the Save to Zotero icon:

  • Zotero cannot interpret bibliographic information for this source. Instead, create a record in Zotero by hand.

If you click on the Save to Zotero icon, but the source is not saved:

  1. Check the list of databases with known issues. If the database is not working with Zotero at this time, create a record in Zotero by hand.
  2. If there are no known issues with the database, refresh the page and try again.
  3. If you have Zotero installed on an additional browser, try saving the source using that browser.
  4. Create a record in Zotero by hand instead.

If you're using JSTOR:

  1. Agree to JSTOR's Terms of Service by clicking on "Download PDF" for at least one article.
  2. Use the browser connector to download bibliographic information as well as PDFs.

If you're using a Gale database:

  1. Open the Zotero app.
  2. If the Zotero connector displays a white paper  then click on it to save your article to Zotero.
  3. Otherwise, select Cite from the menu bar.
  4. Select Download RIS from the Citation Tools menu.
  5. Open the RIS file.
  6. When Zotero asks if you want to import your file, click OK.
  7. Zotero should open a prompt asking if you want to import your file.