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ENG1050: Introduction to College Writing (Hardacre)


Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.

In Zotero you can:

  • Create bibliographies of various source types including books, articles, websites, videos, and more in a variety of citation styles
  • Import citations and documents directly from McQuade databases and the NOBLE catalog
  • Organize your research by creating collections using folders and tags
  • Collaborate with other scholars, students, and researchers through an online network
  • Add searchable notes to citations

With a Free Account you get:

  • 300MB of storage (additional storage is available for purchase)
  • Full integration between Zotero platforms
  • Group research collections 
  • Citation plug-ins for word processing software
  • Web/Desktop platforms
  • Compatibility with 3rd party mobile applications

Zotero Mobile Apps

Zotero recommends the following apps for iOS users to manage their library from a mobile device. 

"BibUp allows you to create bibliographic references by scanning books barcodes and extracts of text. The references, including the OCRed text, can be viewed on a web page and collected using the Zotero plugin for Firefox."

"PaperShip is an iPad, iPhone and Mac application designed to give you access to your Mendeley / Zotero library on-the-go. You will enjoy to annotate your PDFs with highlights, notes, free text, drawings and much more!"

"The purpose of ZotPad is to allow accessing Zotero libraries from mobile devices. The software provides read and write access to Zotero files stored on the Zotero server, WebDAV server, or Dropbox and supports adding notes and tages to your items."


Zotero recommends the following apps for Android users to manage their library from a mobile device.  

"Access your Zotero library from your mobile device! Edit and view your library, sync, and work offline." "Zed Lite gives you access to your Zotero reference database on-the-go." "Zojo allows users to view their citations stored at"




Importing Citations

The Zotero browser extension allows you to quickly save items to your Zotero library while you are searching, without having to leave your browser. 

  • Whether you are using the Zotero Standalone or Zotero for Firefox, adding citations to your library with a browser extension works in the same easy way. 

1.  Click on the small icon that appears in the right corner of your browser address bar. 

  • There are different icons to represent the various source types. The icon pictured above indicates that this source will be included in your Zotero library as an article. 
  • If you see a folder icon, this indicates that you can add multiple sources from a list of results.

  • This works on any type of website, including McQuade Library databases, google scholar, online book catalogs, Amazon, etc. 

2.  A box will appear in the lower right corner of your browser showing that telling you when the item is saved.

If you are using Zotero for Firefox, the new citations will appear immediately in the Zotero pane in the bottom of your browser.  

3.  If you are using Zotero Standalone, click on the "Sync" button in your toolbar to add new items

Whether you are using the Zotero Standalone or Zotero for Firefox, adding citations to your library from the Zotero platform can be done in 2 ways:

1. Add citation information by an identifier by clicking on the "Add Items by Identifier" button on the toolbar,  type in the item DOI, ISBN or PMID and press enter

  • After entering all your identifiers, the citation will automatically appear in your Zotero library. 
  • This is a helpful option if you added a PDF to your Zotero library and want to quickly look up and add the corresponding citation information. For more information about PDFs, click on the next tab. 

2.  Add items manually by clicking on the "New Item" button, selecting the source type and then filling in the information fields in the right column

  • Click on "More" to see over 30 additional source types.

  • This is a helpful option if you want to include an uncommon source type (the item information above is citing a podcast), or if the citation information will not automatically save.  

Whether you are using the Zotero Standalone or Zotero for Firefox, you can add citations to your library by dragging PDFs from your desktop or file window into the Zotero platform.   

  • Adding a PDF to Zotero alone will not automatically generate a citation.  There are three ways to connect PDFs and citations

1.  Add the citation to your Zotero library first (using any of the methods in the previous tab), then drag PDF directly over the citation to merge the two together. 

  • An arrow will appear to the left of the source title to show that there are documents attached to the citation. 
  • If you imported citations from another reference manger, you will need to follow this process to attach any documents to the newly added items. 

2.  Drag the PDF into Zotero, right click on the file and select "Retrieve Metadata" to generate a citation based on the information in the PDF.

  • The citation will now be the main entry, with the PDF as an attached item. 



Organize Your Sources

Create and unlimited number of collections to sort your sources, and keep your research organized.

  • You can sort citations and create bibliographies for each individual collection by right clicking on the collection, and selecting "Create Bibliography from Collection"

1.  In any of the Zotero platforms , click the "New Collection" button in the toolbar and enter the collection name

2. Add citations by dragging files from the central column to the corresponding collection in the left column

  • Adding citations to a collection does not remove it from its original location, so you can have a citation in more than one collection simultaneously.
  • The remove an item from a collection, right click on the item and click "Remove from Collection." This will not delete the citation, only remove it from that location. 

3.  Create additional subcollections within a broader collection by right clicking on a collection title and then click "Create New Subcollection"


Adding tags to your references is another way to manage resources in your Zotero library. 

  • Tags are similar to collections in that they help to establish a connection between different resources. 
  • Tags are searchable, and customized to meet your search needs

1. Click on the source you want to tag and go to the "Tags" tab in the item information and click "Add"


2.  Add your descriptive tags to the source

  • Any number of tags can be assigned to any works.
  • Tags are for your own convenience- they can be as broad or as specific as you want.

To see all the tags associated with a particular collection, click on the collection name and the list of tags will appear in the box below the "My Library" section.


  • You can also tag items by dragging the files from the center column over to the tag name listed in the box. 
  • Use the search bar underneath the list to locate tagged references.

Choosing a Citation Style

Select the citation style for your entire library by clicking on the "Actions" gear button then "Preferences," and select the "Cite" tab.  Next, click on the "Styles" tab.

  • This will show you a short selection of citation styles
  • If you don't see the citation style you need listed, Zotero provides access to thousands of additional citation styles. 

1.  Click on the "Get additional styles" link underneath the listing of currently installed citation styles

  • This will open as a new tab in your browser

​2.  Search for the citation style you need in the Zotero Style Repository

  • You can search for citation styles by name or by discipline.
  • Hover over the name of any style to see sample citations. 

3.  Click on the style name to download the citation style as a csl file, then open the file to automatically install it in your Zotero library   

  • This added citation style will now appear in the list of available citation styles 
  • If the citation style does not automatically install, you can add it manually by clicking on the "+" button and selecting the downloaded file. 

To use any newly added citation styles in your word processor, click on the "Zotero Refresh" button to update the list of availble citation styles. 

For questions or feedback contact the McQuade Library
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