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Citation Management

Writing a paper is complicated. Collecting, organizing, sharing, and citing sources is easier with citation management.

Collect Citations

Zotero provides the ability to save references from most databases and journal pages, 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 webpage for a book or article, the Zotero browser extension (which will appear in your toolbar to the right of the address bar), will try to detect what kind of item you are looking at and display the appropriate icon. This works well on catalog and database sites, or sites like, LibraryThing or the New York Times. For a webpage about a journal article or paper, it will display a "paper" icon:

For a book, you'll see:

And for a web page, it will look like:

First make sure that Zotero Standalone is open and then click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation:

NOTE: Make sure Zotero Standalone is open or you may get an error message. If you do, simply open Zotero Standalone and click on "Try Again." Also, using the Zotero button to save a book from either our library homepage search or our catalog ( saves the reference as a web page and not a book -- which means a lot of relevant citation info is lost -- so this isn't a preferred way to add books. Please use WorldCat to find your book instead.

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.

Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from some web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library by using the Zotero Connector browser plugin.

Right-click in your browser and choose "Zotero Connector" from the menu:

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.

Have the book in front of you and want to add it to your Zotero library without having to search for a citation?

If you have a book's ISBN, an online article's DOI or PMID number, just click the magic wand button: "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.

There may be times when you need to add an item to your library by hand.  If so, use the green "plus" icon and choose the type of item from the dropdown list.  A window will open with the appropriate fields to complete for that item type.


Zotero imports citation information for the PDFs you add to your collection automatically (known as 'PDF indexing'). When you drag and drop PDFs into Zotero or use the "Store Copy of File" or "Link to File" options from the add new item menu (green plus sign), Zotero will retrieve metadata for PDFs and rename the associated files. If you prefer, you can disable these automatic functions in the General pane of Zotero preferences.

If you have disabled automatic metadata retrieval or have other PDF files already in your library, you can also retrieve metadata manually:

  1. In the middle pane, select the PDFs you want to retrieve metadata for.
  2. Right-click on the PDFs and select "Retrieve Metadata for PDFs."
  3. If Zotero can find a match for the item, it will create a full Zotero item with the available data and attach the PDF.
  4. If Zotero can't find metadata for an item, you can right-click on it and choose “Create Parent Item” to manually enter the item metadata.

NOTE: Metadata is only as good as the information in Google Scholar. Please carefully review your citations for accuracy.