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+Social Work Research: Zotero

Using the library to support your research in Social Work

About Zotero

Zotero [Zoh-TAIR-roh] is a free citation manager that collects, organizes, cites, and shares your sources. 

  • Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Zotero collects research materials in a single place - add PDFs, images, audio and video files, and more 
  • Automatically format bibliographies in the citation style of your choice

Zotero Storage

Zotero provides free, unlimited storage of bibliographic information and notes. 300MB are provided for attachments, such as PDFs, video and audio files, and snapshots. Purchase additional storage from Zotero

Cloud-Based Storage

Zotero allows for the use of a "WebDAV" service to synch your PDFs and other attachments to a cloud-based storage service. See this link for other known WebDAV supported cloud services. 

Check "Sync attachment files in My Library using Zotero/WebDAV" to enable file syncing for your personal Zotero library. Select "WebDAV" to use WebDAV storage

Installing Zotero: 3 Steps

1. Installing Zotero

Go to the Zotero Download Page, and click "Install Zotero" 

  • For a Mac computer, drag the Zotero icon to the Applications folder and add it to your dock
  • For a PC, run the setup program 
  • For Linux, follow this link to get more instructions

If you are installing Zotero on a university-owned computer, you can bypass the Administration authentication page by downloading Zotero from the ITS Software Center.

  • A Word Processor Plugin is automatically installed when you download Zotero. This easy-to-use plug-in lets you insert citations and bibliographies directly into Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. Although the plug-in automatically installs for Microsoft Word, you can learn more about plug-in functionality on the Zotero Word Processor Plug-In site

2. Install Zotero Connectors 

The Zotero Connectors allow your web browser to save citations to your Zotero library automatically. Open the web browser you would like to use Zotero with, and click the Zotero Connector link for that browser to install it. 

Each browser has its own version of the Zotero connector, so if you use Chrome and Firefox when doing research, you'll need to install both connectors. 

After you have installed the connector, be sure to close and restart the browser. 

3. Create an Account: 

Create an account on the Zotero website and, once you've validated your new account by email, Zotero will ask you to finish setting up your preferences. 

Log in on the Zotero website with your username and password, then open Zotero Standalone by clicking on the Zotero icon in the browser toolbar or opening the Zotero Standalone app from your computer's dock. 

On a Mac computer: click the actions menu button (which looks like a gear), at the top of the left column and click "Preference". Then click the "'Sync" tab.

On a PC computer: click the "Edit" drop-down from the top of the app, and click "Preference", then click the "Sync" tab 

Enter your username and password into the sync preferences. 


Zotero will now automatically sync your saved items! 

Installing Zotero: Video

Saving Citations

Saving Citations to Zotero 

Open your Zotero library by clicking on the "Z" in the upper right hand corner of your browser. Zotero can automatically tell if you are looking at a book, article, or website online. In the upper right hand corner of your browser, an icon will display next to the Zotero "Z" icon. Select the icon to save the resource to your Zotero Library. 

Also, if you're on a page with more then one resource, the icon will display as a manila folder. Then you can choose multiple items to add to your Zotero library. 

Zotero can also save newspapers, blogs, audio recordings, artwork and tons more. Usually Zotero displays the icon in the upper right hand corner of Firefox to reflect what the item is, but if Zotero isn't sure what the item you're saving actually is, Zotero will save it as a website and you can edit the details of the item after it is saved. 

Organizing Your Citations: 

Easily organize your citations by creating folders - click on the yellow manila envelope in the top left hand corner of the Zotero panel. Name the collection, and then add the citations to it by dragging and cropping the resource from your main Zotero library. Citations can exist in multiple collections folders at once without you having to save the citation more then once. 

It's also easy to attach files or PDFs to your citations. Simply drag and drop the item into the citation you want it to be attached to, or, to create a new citation, drop them in between library citations.