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Gathering Citation Data for Your PDFs

1. Once you have downloaded the PDF indexing utilities, simply find the PDFs that you want to bring into your Zotero library on your computer.  Then drag and drop these PDFs into a folder in your Zotero library.

Drag and drop PDFs

2. Next, right-click (or command click on a Mac) on the PDFs (either one at a time or all at once) and choose "retrieve metadata for PDFs."

Retrieve metadata

3.  Zotero will use information embedded in the PDFs to talk to Google Scholar to gather as much information about these PDFs as possible (author, title, date, etc...).  Sometimes, as with one of the example PDFs shown here, Zotero can't find any information for the PDF.  There are several reasons why this happens - the PDF may be too old, the PDF's publisher may not have included this behind-the-scenes metadata or they kept it hidden, or the PDF may have been scanned in such a way that this metadata was lost.  Note:  you can still manually add the citation information or do a database search for the citation yourself, then drag and drop the PDF onto that citation information to keep the PDF together with its citation information.

Metadata retrieved

4. Note:  to see where your PDF went, click on the expand box to the left of the citation.  You can now see that the PDF is associated with the citation information and is kept below it.

PDF location

5. Now you can incorporate these citations into a word processing document just as you would any other citations.  (In the example below, this was done simply by dragging and dropping the citations into Word).

Drag into Word