What is Zotero?

"Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself." 1

It is an extension for the web browser Firefox and was developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

How to install Zotero

To download Zotero, please go to and click on the red download button. You need to have Firefox 3.0 or higher on your computer. Once installed you will need to restart Firefox. You should now see 'Zotero' in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser window. For more information about installation go here

To download the Microsoft Word plugin for Zotero, go here

Zotero and Citation Formats

Zotero supports 'thousands of bibliographic styles.' When you download Zotero, it includes the following ten citation formats and their variations. If your citation format is not one of the ten listed below, users can download additional styles from Zotero's style repository.

  • American Medical Association
  • American Political Science Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Sociological Association (Author-Date)
  • Chicago Manual of Style (Author-Date format)
  • Chicago Manual of Style (Full Note with Bibliography)
  • Chicago Manual of Style (Note with Bibliography)
  • Chicago Manual of Style (Note without Bibliography)
  • Harvard Reference format 1 (Author-Date)
  • IEEE
  • Modern Humanities Research Association (Note with Bibliography)
  • Modern Humanities Research Association (Note without Bibliography)
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Library of Medicine
  • Nature Journal
  • Vancouver

    Adding references to Zotero

    Zotero recognizes citation information from a wide variety of websites. When Zotero senses that you are viewing a compatible web page, it will display an icon representative of what you are viewing (book, article, newspaper article, folder, etc.) after the URL in your Firefox address bar.

    To save a citation to your Zotero library, click the icon in your address bar (see image below with yellow folder icon in navigation bar). If you are viewing a list of results from the library catalog or an article database, clicking the folder icon will open a dialog box with a list of all the items on the page. You can then select which items you want to save.

    When you do research online, Zotero recognizes resources such as library catalogs, article databases, and much more. Zotero works with:

    • Scotty, the UCR library catalog
    • Melvyl, the catalog for the University of California
    • WorldCat
    • EBSCO (Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, Historical Abstracts, and more)
    • CSA databases (PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, MLA, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, ERIC & more) 
    • JSTOR
    • and many more (for the full list, see )

    Managing your Zotero library

    The Zotero library is organized into three columns. The first(left) column includes your collections (folders) and tags. Second column includes the references in the selected collection from the first column. And the third(right) column displays the citation details.

    Writing with Zotero

    Once you have downloaded the Word plugin, you will be able to add citations while you are writing in Microsoft Word directly from your Zotero library. To insert a citation click on the icon with a quotation mark (first button) "Zotero Insert Citation," then select the citation format desired (MLA, APA, etc.), add the page number if needed, and click ok.

    To add the final bibliography, place your cursor at the end of the document and click on the third button "Zotero insert bibliography." 

    1 Zotero website.

    Last modified: 1/23/2014 12:40 PM by K. Ivy

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