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Resources and help for the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute

About Zotero

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is an web or online application that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use, connects with your web browser to download sources, and best of all it's free!

Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies.

Zotero can detect what type of resource you are viewing online, including articles, books, and webpages. You can then use it to find and save the full reference information. If the source is an online article or webpage, Zotero can optionally store a copy of the source as a screenshot. You can then add notes, tags, and related resources.

To use Zotero, you can either log into Zotero online from their website, or download Zotero 5.0, which runs as a separate application but connects to your favorite browser after you install the appropriate plugin. The plugin, called Zotero Connector, works with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Zotero 5.0 includes the option to install plugins for Word and OpenOffice, so you can 'cite while you write'.

What's the difference between Zotero for your Desktop or Zotero Online?

Zotero for your Desktop is a good option if:

  • You prefer to use your citation manager in a separate window, rather than in your web browser.
  • You want to insert citations into Microsoft Word or LibreOffice documents.
  • You have a rather large library of citations, and need the extended storage space your computer provides.

Zotero Online is a good option if:

  • You work on many different computers, and need a portable library of citations.
  • You have a Chromebook, or other type of laptop that does not allow software installation.
  • ​You can both install Zotero 5.0 and use Zotero online. Make sure to use the "sync" button in the upper right of the online version and Zotero Standalone and sign in so that your citations sync between them

Using Zotero with Microsoft Word

The Microsoft Word citation plugin allow you to easily cite items from your Zotero library while writing. If you are using Zotero online, you will need to download the plugin separately. The Word/OpenOffice plugin usually downloads automatically with Zotero 5.0. However, if it did not install at the same time as the Zotero 5.0 Standalone, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open Zotero 5.0 Standalone
  2. Click "Tools"
  3. Then choose "Add-ons" and install the Word or Libre Office Plugin.

Quick Links

Zotero Quick Start Guide: 
Zotero Groups: 
Zotero Google Browser Add-on:
Zotero Desktop Application: 
Zotero Groups Brief “How To” Video:

Adding additional citation styles to Zotero

Zotero comes with the most common bibliographic styles, but many more are available to download from their style repository.

To install a style:

  1. Go to the Zotero Style Repository page.
  2. Search for the name of the style you want.
  3. Download the style (right-click the Install link and choose 'Save As').
  4. Open Zotero preferences. Click Cite, then Styles, then the "+" button, and select the style you downloaded (a .CSL file).
  5. The new style will appear in Zotero's style lists.