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Zotero

Practical instructions for installing and using Zotero citation manager.

Overview

To start collecting material, you first need to install the Zotero Connector in the browser of your choice. 

Zotero usually senses when you are looking at an article in a subscription database, or an online source like the New York Times, or at a book in the RRU Discovery search tool  When it does, you can add the citation to your Zotero library. Where and how the Zotero connector shows up will depend on what browser you're using, how many other extensions you have installed, and what type of document(s) you're looking at. Usually, it will look like a Z, a page icon, or a book icon. It might also be hidden in a larger Extensions menu (looks like a puzzle piece). Here's where mine is in Chrome. Have a hunt around until you find yours. 

 

You can click that icon on any page on the Internet and Zotero will do its best to grab available metadata and create a citation record in your Zotero library. Obviously, this works best when the page you're looking at is related in some way to a book, article, or other reference item, but you can also grab citation information for websites and webpages.

It is useful to double check the completeness of the citations you import as you capture them. If a citation element is missing in the record, for example, the volume and issue numbers, Zotero will not be able to generate a complete citation in your bibliography.

One citation at a time - most likely way to capture full citations

One citation at a time

In many of the article databases, you can auto-capture one citation at a time. If you see an icon like the one circled here in red, click on it and Zotero will capture the citation and attach the full text of the article as well if it is available.

  • This is the most reliable way to capture full citations
  • Note that this works best if you're on the landing page for the article or book, rather than actually in the document. You can lift citation information directly from a PDF or within an ebook, but there's a much greater chance that the citation will be inaccurate or incomplete.

Several citations at once in Google Scholar

Articles:

When you have a list of search results in Google Scholar or in a database platform such as ProQuest, EBSCO, or JSTOR you will see a folder icon in the upper right corner of your browser, next to the 'Z'. When you click on that folder icon you are able to select the article citations you want to save to your Zotero library. When you click on the 'OK' button, those items are  added to your Zotero library.

This captures the citation information as well as a links if they are available, but not the full text. If you want to collect full-text article PDFs directly in your Zotero library, you'll need to grab your citations one-at-a-time.

Several citations at once in Discovery

 

To export many citations at a time to Zotero when you are searching Discovery:

  1. Do one or more searches of Discovery and select the citations you want to keep.
     
  2.  Open your list of chosen citations and click 'My List' in the top right corner.

     
  3. Review and re-select the citations you still want to keep from your shortlist.
  4. Click on the share/export button and choose the 'Cite record' option.
    clicking on 'cite' button
     
  5. Select the 'Export to RIS' option.
    open as RIS file
     
  6. If you have your Zotero software open, a pop-up window should appear looking like this. Select the Zotero option and click "OK". (You may also want to select the 'Always allow for this site' option.)
    open file in Zotero

Grabbing information about websites

Collecting Websites

Zotero allows you to auto-save the citation information for some websites. These pages can be idetified by the icon of the piece of paper    at the end of the URL window.  If you find a webpage without this icon, try installing Readability, a free Firefox add-on that strips away unnecessary web content to let you focus on the text. According to this ProfHacker article, installing the Readability app makes sites that weren't interpreted by Zotero able to be captured via the Zotero icon in the address bar.

Adding citations manually:

Of course, you can still manually add the reference to your library using these steps:

Click the Zotero button at the bottom right of your browser to access your Zotero pane. Click the "Create New Item from Current Page" button (to the right of the green plus sign) to save a link to the page. This will save a new web page item to your library. You can add information about the author, etc., if you'd like.

This will also attach a snapshot of the page to the citation. Taking a snapshot saves a copy of the page to your computer as it appears at the time the page is being capture. This includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.

The "Create Item from Current Page" icon is circled below.
collecting references from other websites

Proxy redirect issue

Your browser plugin for Zotero may offer to add a proxy address to articles and books you find. You do not want this. To turn it off, click on the 'Proxy settings' link...

proxy settings in Zotero

and disable the proxy in your browser

 

If you do not see that yellow bar across the top of your browser but you are still having trouble, right click on the Zotero shortcut in your browser and choose, ‘Manage Extension’ or 'extension options'.