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Zotero Citation Manager Guide

This guide contains information about installing and using Zotero, a free open source reference management program.

Collecting Citations

Adding an Article Citation

Zotero allows users to collect a wide variety of types of sources.  The most common are articles, books, .pdfs, and webpages.  If Zotero detects a reference, you will see a small button in the address bar of your browser.  Just click the button to automatically save the citation to your Zotero library.


Chrome:                                                                   Firefox:




Click the icon next to the address bar to add this item to your Zotero library.


A folder button indicates multiple items on a page. To add items to your library, click the folder button and select the item(s) you want to add to your Zotero library. There is an option to select all if you wish to add all of the source citations to your library.

Adding a Book Citation

If you want to add a book citation to your Zotero library, locate a book in Amazon, Google Books, or the library's catalog. Click the book button in the address bar to add it to your library.


You can also add multiple books to your Zotero library at one time. Click the folder button and select the items from the pop-up window that you want to add to your library. 


Adding a .pdf

Zotero can automatically detect metadata (bibliographic info) for .pdfs on your computer.  Simply drag a .pdf into Zotero to add it to your library.


Right-click and select "Retrieve Metadata for PDF."




If Zotero can locate the info for the .pdf, a parent item using that information will be added to the .pdf. *Sometimes the citation information cannot be found. You can always add this manually. Adding the .pdf is still helpful if it is a source you plan to use in your work.


Adding a Website

Zotero can recognize metadata (description information) from many websites.  When reading an article on one of these sites, Zotero will display an button that looks like a piece of paper or a newspaper in the address bar.  Click on that button to save the article to your Zotero library.


If the webpage does not provide high quality metadata, Zotero cannot pull information from that website. Don't worry...You can still add this source to your Zotero library.

Click on the Zotero button to see whether the page will be saved with all of the webpage information or if it will be saved as a website with just a snapshot of the page. You can always go into your Zotero library and add the necessary information later.

This shows a Zotero webpage with metadata      This shows a Zotero webpage with metadata




Creative Commons License

Some content from this guide was created by Jason Pucket and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Noncommercial 3.0 United States Licence

Creative Commons License

Special thanks, also, to Kristin Koob and Harvard Library. Some content from this guide was created by Harvard Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence