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Zotero, a free cloud-based citation manager, automatically senses and imports content in your web browser and allows you to add it to your personal library, all within a single click! Zotero also has a Word plug-in to cite-while-you-write.

Collecting References: Books and Articles

Zotero allows you to save references from most databases, and some regular web pages, with one click. If Zotero detects that you're looking at a book or article, you'll see a book or page icon in your brower's address bar. Click the icon and Zotero will save the citation.

Zotero screenshot

Zotero screenshot

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 the items on the page, and check off the ones you want to save.

Zotero screenshot

Collecting References: Other Web Sites

Zotero screenshotOther Web Sites  

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

You can right-click to "Save Page to Zotero," or 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 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.

Zotero screenshot

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.

Zotero screenshot

Saving citations

All information in this GSU tutorial also applies to MSU Libraries' resources.