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Introduction to Zotero: Reference Management Tools

An information guide to accompany the iLearnOregon class Introduction to Zotero

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 Using Zotero Connector

  • Zotero Connector automatically identifies items on a webpage – article, book, webpage, document, PDF.
  • If a folder icon appears, Zotero has identified multiple items. Once you click on the folder, a window will pop up askig you which items you want to add to your library.
  • NOTE: The Zotero icon will change once it determines the type of item present. For this reason, it’s often helpful to place the Zotero button in a specific location on your toolbar so that you know where it is by location as much as by sight.
  • Examples:
    • Journal Article (from a database):
      "One program that could improve health in this neighbourhood is ____?" using concept mapping to engage communities as part of a health and human services needs assessment. BMC Health Services Research. MEDLINE Complete
    • Journal Article (open access online):
      The Allegheny Initiative for Mental Health Integration for the Homeless: Integrating Heterogeneous Health Services for Homeless Persons. American Journal of Public Health
    • Website:
      State and Metro Area Employment, Hours, & Earnings. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    • Newspaper Article:
      As Hawaii witnesses first major volcanic eruption in decades, experts draw lessons from Mount St. Helens. The Oregonian
    • Book/Ebook:
      Communities in action : pathways to health equity.
    • Google Scholar:
      (diversity OR inclusion) AND (policy OR policies)

 Using Identification Numbers

  • Add items using their associated ISBN, digital object identifier (DOI), or PubMed ID (PMID).
  • Click on the “Add Item by Identifier” button and type or paste the number.
  • Example using DOI:
    Swimming against the tide: A Canadian qualitative study examining the implementation of a province-wide public health initiative to address health equity. International Journal for Equity in Health. DOI: 10.1186/s12939-016-0419-4

Adding Existing Documents

  • Add existing documents from your computer by dragging and dropping them into Zotero.

Manually Adding Items

  • Click on the “New Item” button to manually enter the information for an item.

Editing Items

  • Zotero pulls the data about an item via metadata fields. In some cases, the information is clean and in the correct format. In other cases, there may be errors, missing information, or format changes.
  • Names: spelling, order, single field vs two field mode, etc.
  • Titles: spelling, capitalization, or other typographical errors
    • Zotero recommends using sentence case style because the conversion from sentence case to title case is more accurate.
    • Sentence case = The brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
    • Title case = The Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog
  • Item Types: Zotero makes a "best guess" for item types, but some types may need to be updated to be fit their formats (ex: online newspaper articles are frequently pulled in as web page instead of newspaper article)
  • Remember to verify information before creating bibliographies.

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