Skip to main content

Zotero - Citation Manager: Saving

Zotero is a free, easy to use software that helps you save, manage, and cite research sources.

Saving Citations

On this page you will find illustrations to help you with your citation library:

Configuring Zotero Preferences

Before you begin collecting sources, you'll want to configure your Zotero Preferences:

  • Click on the Actions icon (looks like a gear) and click on the Sync tab to login using your Zotero username and password.
  • Click the "Sync automatically" checkbox to have Zotero automatically sync up your Zotero library with your account. This will allow you to access your Zotero library from any computer with an internet connection.
  • Click on the General tab to configure your 'User Interface' settings. This will determine how Zotero will appear each time it's used.
    You can choose to have Zotero to appear at the bottom of your browser screen or in a separate tab, depending on how you like to work.
    You can also customize how you'd like the Zotero icon to appear in your system tray (lower right corner) as well as the font size.
  • Under the 'Miscellaneous' heading, be sure that 'Automatically check for updated translators' is selected.
  • You may also want to have Zotero 'automatically attach associated PDFs and other files when saving items.' This options is selected by default but you should be sure to make certain it is selected. Click the OK button in order to save any updated preferences before moving on to a different Preferences area.

General Zotero Preferences

Collecting and Saving Citations/References to your library: Books and Articles

Zotero provides the ability to save references from most library catalogs (including LIU's) and databases, and even some regular web pages, with one click. (Zotero publishes a list of compatible sites, and many sites not on this list also work.) If Zotero detects that you're looking at a book or article on a catalog, database, or a site like, LibraryThing or the New York Times, you'll see a book or page icon appear in the address bar of your browser. Just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation.

If you're on a page of search results with many items, you'll see a folder icon instead. Click this to get a list of all the items on the page, and check off the ones you want to save.

Books in the Library's Catalogue

Books in the Library's catalogue:

(Right-click > "View Image" to view this image larger)

Web Sites

Other Web Sites  

Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from some web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library.

Click the Zotero button at the bottom of your browser to access Zotero's controls. Click the page button (to the right of the green plus sign) to save a link to the page. This will save a new "web page" item to your library. You can add information about the author, etc., if you wish.

This will also attach a snapshot of the page to the citation. Taking a snapshot saves a copy of the page to your computer. It includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.


Attaching Files

It's easy to attach files (like PDFs) to items in your Zotero library.  Just drag the file into your Zotero pane.  Dropping a file onto a collection, or in between library items, will copy it into your library as a standalone item.  Dropping it onto an existing item will attach it to that item.  This is the easiest way to attach a copy of an article to its entry in your library.

Each item also has an Attachments tab in the right column.  You can attach files by clicking the Attachments tab and then the Add button.

Organizing Your Library

Click the Zotero button at the bottom of your browser to open your library. At the top left is a folder button with a green plus sign. Click this to create a new "collection."

Create collections to organize your references. Collections are like file folders on your computer, but a reference can be in more than one collection at a time. In other words, a book on the Civil War could be filed in your "Civil War" collection, your "Georgia History" collection and your "19th Century America" collection without having to make three copies of the reference.