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Zotero: Collect

Learn how to cite your references with Zotero, a free citation tool.

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Organizing References

Types of Icons for Browser Translator

Other Ways To Add References Into Zotero

Collecting PDFs

Add PDF's to your Zotero Library simply by dragging PDF's and dropping them into the collection you would like to add them.

You can also use “Store Copy of File…” under the green plus sign (independent item).

Store copy option under plus sign


Or the “Attach Stored Copy of File” under the paperclip item in the Zotero toolbar (attachment). 

Attach Stored copy file under paperclip icon

For PDFs that you have added as independent items, if the PDF has been created with Optical Character Recognition; Zotero can retrieve the metadata for the PDF. Either right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) and select Retrieve Metadata for PDF from the drop down menu.

Right click on PDF and select Retrieve Metadata

Note: You must install the PDF Indexing application; if you have not, Zotero will prompt you to the download in order to proceed.

Add References by ISBN, DOI or PubMed ID

Have a DOI, PubMed ID, or ISBN number? You can easily add that reference to your Zotero Library by clicking on the magic wand icon from the Zotero toolbar and input the information.

Magic wand icon next to plus icon will look up ISBN, DOI's and PubMed IDs

Saving Webpage's information

In  Zotero for Firefox, you can create an item from any webpage by clicking the save button in the Firefox toolbar. If the page isn't recognized by a translator, you'll see a gray page icon:

Save webpage to Zotero by clicking gray paper icon next to Z icon.

In  Zotero Standalone, you can create an item with a snapshot from the current page by right-clicking the page background and selecting “Save Page to Zotero”.

Right click webpage to view save page to Zotero option

Double-clicking a Web Page item without a snapshot in your library will take you to the original webpage. Double-clicking a Web Page item with a snapshot will display the snapshot instead. You can also visit the original webpage by clicking the ”URL:” label to the left of the URL field in Zotero's right pane.

Double click the webpage in Zotero Library

Collecting References

Zotero is able to identify references (books, articles) within most databases and websites through a "translator", which displays a resource icon in the address bar allowing you to collect citation information easily. The icon will vary depending on the type or source it finds (book, media, webpage, etc.) 

If an address bar icon does not appear for some reason, you can generally use the database's export function to export the citation as an RIS and add the reference to your Zotero Library. You can also manually create a new citation in Zotero or even add references using the ISBN, DOI or PubMed ID information. All of these methods will be explained on this page.

Note: Zotero will accurately import metadata supplied by most bibliographic databases, library catalogs, publisher sites, and webpages. However, sometimes the metadata that Zotero retrieves is incomplete or incorrect. So make sure that you verify and edit your references as you collect them. 

               Look for resource icons in the address bar.


Databases to Test Zotero Plugin

Collect References using the Address Bar Icon (Translator)

This is an example of collecting resources in the HPU Library Catalog which contains multiple items.Click on the icon! If multiple sources are found, select the references you want to save. Confirmation will be posted at bottom of page.

Your references will be added to your Zotero Library

Database Citation Export Tool

There are database and websites where Zotero does not provide a list, book, or article icon to easily import the reference into your library. In this case you can often use the export citation tool provided by the database. Zotero supports MODS, BibTex, RIS, Refer/BibIX, and Dublin Core RDF formats.

Within the database you are searching look for exportation tool and select any of the formats supported by Zotero. Then you will go to your Zotero Library and upload the citation file.  Here is an example of exporting citation within ACM Digital Library. 

Look for Exportation feature in database and click on file format accepted by Zotero

Once you open the supported file, it should automatically recognize Zotero and try to send it directly.

Pop up box will ask if you want to import in a new collection or the open box will have an option to save the file in Zotero.

In case that does not happen you can save the file in your downloads and manually import it to your Zotero Library.

Go to your Zotero Library and click on gear icon, click on import, and upload previous downloaded file.


Adding References Manually

To manually add an item to your Zotero library, click the green “New Item” () button at the top of the center column, and select the desired item type from the drop-down menu (a complete list of item types, minus Web Page, can be found under “More”). An empty item of the selected item type will now appear in the center column. You can then manually enter the item's bibliographic information via the right column.