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How to Use Zotero for Citation Management: Gathering Citations

A guide to downloading, installing, and utilizing Zotero, a free citation management tool with integrated browser and word processor features.

Hey! Read the stuff in this box!


Yes, technology is truly awesome. No, it isn't perfect. If you aren't sure what citation rules are acceptable for your project, check with your professor. Make sure you are using a reliable citation manual or a reliable web source for citation information based on current standards, such as the Purdue OWL Website

Capturing Citations While Browsing

Once you download Zotero for Firefox and restart your browser, you should notice a small icon for instantly capturing the citation for whatever you are exploring online. This icon should appear on the right end of the address bar in Firefox. Clicking it adds the citation for the current webpage to your My Library folder in Zotero. 

To view the citations you have added to your My Library folder, click on the ZOTERO bar at the bottom right of your Firefox window.

Importing Citations

Library databases, such as those provided through EBSCOhost, allow users to collect articles and then export the citations all at once at the end of their session. Users can then import this file into Zotero by clicking Actions>Import and selecting the file. Zotero imports and exports using the .ris format.

Creating New Citations

New citations can also be created manually by clicking the New Item button (it appears as a green plus sign). This creates an empty citation record that can be filled out using the item details window on the right.

Your Librarian

Beth Carpenter's picture
Beth Carpenter
Transylvania University Library
300 N. Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508-1797