Zotero: Zotero

This guide will help you use the free online citation and research management tool Zotero to organize citations from Library catalogs and databases.

Citation managers

Reference managers (also called citation managers or bibliographic management software) offer a way to save, organize and manage references. Many work with word processing software to format in-text citations and bibliographies for papers and theses, allow you to share references, and enable you to attach or link PDFs to a citation record.

Wikipedia comparison of reference management software


  • Free to UC Berkeley users
  • Web-based: use at any computer with internet access
  • Format bibliographies in Word
  • Import citations from RSS feeds
  • Use UC-eLinks to find the full text of articles from within RefWorks
  • Share lists of references or create a group account for co-editing


  • Free (up to 300 MB web storage) browser extension
  • Sync Zotero to access your library from any computer with internet access
  • Format bibliographies in Word and OpenOffice
  • Capture citation data from PDFs and web pages
  • Share and collaboratively edit lists of references
  • Free (up to 1 GB web storage) software/web hybrid for PC, Mac, Linux
  • Format bibliographies in Word or Open Office
  • Sync PDFs to your web account for online access
  • Capture citation data from some PDFs
  • Search and annotate PDFs
  • Share and collaboratively edit lists of references
  • Discounted to UC Berkeley users
  • Desktop-based software (plus EndNote Web)
  • Format bibliographies in Word or Open Office
  • Capture citation data from some PDFs
  • Annotate PDFs
  • Use UC-eLinks to find the full text of articles from within EndNote
  • Share lists of references with other EndNote users
  • See our EndNote Support page for tutorials and additional information

Getting Started with Zotero

Zotero  was first developed as a Firefox extension and can be quickly added to Firefox by visiting zotero.org and clicking on the red "Download Now" button. Click the “Zotero 4.0 for Firefox” link. After installation, restart Firefox. You should now see the Zotero logo () in the status bar in the right bottom corner of your Firefox browser window and click to launch.

zotero interface

Collections: The left column includes My Library, which contains all items. Clicking the button above the left column creates a new collection, a folder into which items rleating to a specific project or topic can be placed.

Below that is the tag selector, where tags assigned to items can be added or removed.

Items: The items pane displays a list of all the items in each collection with icons that indicate the type of item (book, article, thesis, screenshot, etc.).

Item Details: This pane displays the bibliographic information that was imported by Zotero for each item. There are also options to add additional notes, attachments, links to the original sources, tags, and subject headings.

Zotero Standalone

If you prefer another browser to Firefox, Zotero offers a Standalone option. It operates almost identically to the Zotero for Firefox extension, but cannot offer some advance features, like automatic proxy redirection and automatically importing file attachments when websites are accessed through a web proxy.

In order to scrape bibliographic metadata from websites, Zotero Standalone needs to communicate with the browser you are using, which can be done by installing a Zotero Connector:

  • Chrome, Safari, or Opera connectors can be installed by following the respective download links under the Zotero Standalone download button.

zotero standalone

  • Firefox can also be used with Zotero Standalone, using Zotero for Firefox. The Firefox extension is somewhat unique, because, while it is a full-featured Zotero application, it will automatically act as a Connector for Zotero Standalone if Zotero Standalone is open.
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