Zotero: A Beginner's Guide

Adding References from Library Resources

There are a few main ways to add references to your Zotero Library. Below this box are details explanations.

  • Zotero Connector (in browser)
  • Using a standard number (ISBN, DOI) via Zotero application
  • Manually enter a citations in Zotero application

Note: You may add a PDF or other file after a reference is loaded (see below)

Zotero Connector

Once the Zotero Connector is added to your browser you should see a “Z” icon near the browser address bar (especially if on blank page/tab). This “Z” icon  will change based on the web page you are visiting.

The Connector is one of the best features of Zotero because it is the communicator between the Zotero program (must be opened) and your browser. When you are visiting any web page, the connector detects the type of item (article, book, web page) you are viewing. The connector will change from the Z to a different icon to match the type of item you are viewing.

So to add content via the Zotero Connector

  1. Open Zotero program
  2. Find an items
  3. Select the icon (paper, book, webpage or folder**)
  • A little window will briefly appear in the lower right of your screen as the information is collected.
  • In the Zotero program, a new reference is created with the bibliographic information.
  • If a PDF was on the page, it was also collected in the Zotero program

**If the icon is a folder, you can select one or multiple items from page and a new reference is created in the Zotero program for each.

Standard number

You can quickly add items to your library if you already know the standard numbers, which are unique to each item.

  • ISBN - book identifier (10 or 13 digits)
  • Digital Object Identifier (DOI) - many scholarly articles have this number, and they all start with 10.
  • PubMed ID - health/medical-related articles in the PubMed database 

In the Zotero program

  1. Select “Add Item by Identifier” button ()
  2. Enter the standard number (or paste in)
  3. Press the Enter key on keyboard
  4. If the item is found a new reference is created in Zotero with the bibliographic information

Add references manually

Manually add an item to your Zotero library:

  1. Open the Zotero program
  2. Select the green “New Item” () button at the top of the center column.
  3. Select the desired item type from the drop-down menu (e.g. book, book chapter, article, etc)
  4. An empty space (place holder) for the item type will now appear
  5. Enter the bibliographic information in the right panel
  6. The empty space will change with the new information.

Add PDFs to your references

How to add a PDF (e.g. article) from your computer to a reference in Zotero

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Find the PDF (or any file) on your computer
  3. Drag PDF to item in Zotero.
  4. It should now appear under the title of reference

OR

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Right-click on reference
  3. Select Add Attachment
  4. Find PDF (or any file)
  5. It should now appear under the title of reference