As of July 10, 2017, Zotero 5 is now available. Zotero 5 is a major new version of Zotero and will especially affect users who previously used the Zotero for Firefox extension. Read more about Zotero 5 on the Zotero website. I will be updating this tutorial to reflect the change to Zotero 5 over the next few weeks.
Zotero for Firefox extension users will need to update to Zotero 5. Download Zotero 5.0 and make sure to download the browser extension as well.
Zotero is a free tool that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use and lives in your web browser where you do your work. Zotero can be downloaded as a StandAlone version that works with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, or downloaded as a Firefox extension. In this tutorial I will be using images from an installation of StandAlone Chrome, but other browser versions are very similar.
Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes, and images to your citations, organize them into easily searchable collections for different projects, and create bibliographies using Word (for Mac or Windows) or OpenOffice using any of over 8000 citation styles.
References can be added to a Zotero library in many different ways: directly from databases, journal websites, Google Scholar or the library catalog, by reference file import (for example from an EndNote library), by dragging in PDFs from your hard drive, and by entering them manually.
Many people like to know the pros and cons between the various citation management software choices before they start using a particular tool. Here is a brief overview of the differences between Zotero, EndNote (and EndNote Web) and Mendeley. A more lengthy comparison between EndNote Web, EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero is attached if you are interested.
|Cost||Free||Free||Free for OSU Students through IS software licensing program; faculty/staff purchase annual license||Free to OSU users|
|Web based?||Yes||Yes, but not primarily||No||Yes|
|Storage capacity||Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 1GB free Zotero file syncing if you register with an OSU email address (larger syncing plans available for purchase); or can use WebDav||Unlimited local storage and data syncing; 1GB personal and 100MB shared online space (larger online storage plans available for purchase)||Unlimited local storage||Limited to 10,000 citations|
|Create group or shared libraries||Yes||Yes, free for up to 3 group members (larger group plans available for purchase)||Yes, up to 15 members||Yes, but can’t share PDFs with the group|
|Number of Citation Styles||+8000 styles||+8000 styles||~5000||~5000|