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This resource guide can help you get started using the research management tool Zotero.

Organize Your Sources

  • Once you open up Zotero, the left pane includes My Library, which contains all the items in your library. 
  • If you right-click on My Library or click on the New Collection button above the left pane, you can create a new collection
  • A collection is a folder into which items relating to a specific project or topic can be placed. 
  • Items can belong to multiple collections and subcollections. Adding an item to multiple collections does not duplicate the item. In this sense, collections are more like music playlists than folders in your computer filesystem. Just as a single song can be added to more than one playlist, a single item in a Zotero library can be added to multiple collections.
  • Subcollections can be created by dragging and dropping an existing collection onto another collection or by right-clicking a collection and choosing “New Subcollection…”. You can convert a subcollection into a top-level collection by dragging it out of the collection and dropping it into empty space in the left Zotero pane.

  • Items can be assigned tags. Tags are named by the user. An item can be assigned as many tags as is needed. Tags are added or removed with the tag selector at the bottom of the left pane or through the Tags tab of any item in the right-hand pane. Up to 6 tags can be assigned colors. Colored tags are readily visible in the item list and can be quickly added or removed using the number keys on your keyboard.
  • The tag selector is located at the bottom of the left Zotero pane. It shows all the tags that have been assigned to the items currently shown in the center pane (i.e., items in the currently selected collection that match the current search). To show all of the tags present in the library, click the multi-color button in the lower-right corner of the tag selection and choose “Display All Tags in This Library”. Tags not assigned to currently shown items are greyed out. You can filter items by their tags by clicking on one more tags in the tag selector. Only items that have all of the selected tags will be shown in the center pane. As you apply filters, the list of tags in the tag selector will be updated to show only the tags assigned to currently visible items. Clicking on a tag again will deselect it. To deselect all tags at once, click the multi-color button and choose “Deselect All.”
  • The filter box at the bottom of the tag selector can be used to search for tags. Type in the search box to see all tags that match. To go back to viewing all the tags in the collection, press the Escape key or click the “X” button on the right.
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