Install ZoteroBuild Your LibraryCreate a Zotero accountManually Add an ItemAdd WebsitesUsing Zotero with 1Search
Manage FoldersTaggingSortingSearch LibraryZotero Data - LocalZotero Storage - Cloud BasedFree Zotero Storage Space for OSU UsersAdd Another Email Address
Stand Alone BibliographyEditingChanging StylesAdd StylesHard StylesRemove Codes
Adding PDFs - Step 1Adding PDFs - Step 2Annotating & HighlightingTry It! - Practice PDFs
Mobile AppsZotero Bookmarklet
Group LibrariesImport LibrariesExport Libraries
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In this tutorial you will learn the fundamentals about this free web-based citation management tool, which can be used to save citations and pdfs in a web-based library, as well as to incorporate citations into a Word document.
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

1. Get Started Print Page

Tutorial Contents

In this tutorial you will learn the fundamentals of this free web-based citation management tool, which can be used for any discipline (sciences, social sciences, humanities) to save citations and pdfs, as well as incorporate citations into a Word document. We will cover:


How to Use This Tutorial

This Zotero tutorial uses pictures and videos produced at OSU and at other universities.  Use either the videos or the screenshots depending on your personal preference. Go straight through the whole tutorial in one sitting or jump around using the tabs as your schedule allows.  Each of the tabs has drop-down menus to guide you through the content in this tutorial.  Or you can use the sub-pages links instead.

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Next on Get Started

This page contains the following sub-pages:


What is Zotero?

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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 Firefox extension, or as a StandAlone version that works with Chrome and Safari. I'll primarily give browser-based Firefox examples in this tutorial, but using the StandAlone version will be 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 7100 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.


Citation Manager Comparison

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.

Criteria Zotero Mendeley EndNote EndNote Web
Cost Free Free $105,  through the College of Science software licensing program 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 ~7100 styles ~7100 styles ~5000 ~5000

Zotero Librarian

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Hannah Gascho Rempel
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Zotero Workshops @ OSU


Permission to Share

Creative Commons License

This guide is created by Hannah Gascho Rempel and licensed by Oregon State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.  You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included. I encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials.


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