Add Citations to Zotero

Adding Books and Articles into Zotero

  • When your browser is pointed at a webpage that has a list of citations (e.g. a library catalog or database, Amazon, Google Scholar, etc.), Zotero recognizes the bibliographic metadata for the citations, and enables you to download them. A Zotero "folder" icon appears at the right-hand end of the browser's tool bar when there is a list of citations on the screen.



The "folder" icon


  • Click on the folder icon in the tools bar, and a pop-up window appears, which lists the citations on the page.
  • Check the items you want to download to Zotero, and click on OK. If Zotero is open, with one of the collections selected, the references will be put into that collection. They will also go into your main Zotero folder called "My Library." If Zotero is not open, they will go into "My Library" by default.
  • Zotero also recognizes an individual bibliographic item when it appears on the screen (e.g., a book in Amazon or an article in a journal), and the appropriate icon (a book, a lined page for an article, an open book for a book chapter, etc.) will appear in the tool bar. You can click on this icon to download the item to Zotero.



The "book" icon



The "article" icon


  • NOTE: It is very important to check that the metadata that Zotero has imported for a citation is correct and complete. Zotero does not always capture all the data, and sometimes the data is not all present on the page. Check each of the important fields of the imported reference very carefully so that when you use it in a document or bibliography it will show correctly and completely in the style that you want to use.
  • Sometimes Zotero does not recognize bibliographic information on a webpage even if it is there. If Zotero doesn’t detect the reference(s) on the page, the icon for folder, book or article won’t appear in the address bar.  It works with most scholarly databases and catalogs, and there is a list of sites on which Zotero can recognize bibliographic metadata at, but this list isn't always up to date. The only way to find out if Zotero will work with a database is to test it out. You can add items manually if necessary – see below.

Adding PDFs to Zotero

  • Zotero will usually be able to save the PDF along with the citation, if the PDF of an article is available from the database. It appears as a “child item” under the citation in the middle column.
  • If this doesn’t happen automatically, you can download the PDF yourself and save it, on your computer, then add it to the citation by dragging and dropping its icon onto the citation.
  • If you have saved a PDF on your computer but don't yet have its citation, Zotero can create the citation from the PDF.  To do this, re-size the Firefox window so that you can see both the Zotero pane and the icon for the PDF, then drag and drop the PDF icon to the Zotero collection where you want it.  It will then appear in the middle column.  Right-click on it, and choose “Retrieve Metadata for PDF.”
  • If you have found the full text of the article in an HTML version instead of PDF, right-click on the citation in Zotero and go to Add Attachment - Attach Snapshot of Current Page.

Adding Websites to Zotero

  • Zotero can also add snapshots of websites to your library. This is great for adding articles that you find on the web, blog posts, online encyclopedia articles, etc.


The "webpage" icon


  • Zotero will automatically create an entry from the website, as well as saving a snapshot in case the page changes or disappears. The snapshot is created as an attachment and is listed as a “child item” under the citation in the middle column.
  • In the third Zotero column, edit the information by clicking on each field. When you cite a webpage, Zotero only pulls in the information available on the page, so if the author is not listed, you will have to enter the name manually.

Creating Citations Manually

  • Click on the "New Item" icon at the top of the middle column in Zotero.


The "New Item" icon


  • A pull-down menu will appear. Select the type of source you wish to cite. For more citations types, click on "More" and a full list of options will appear.
  • In the third column, you will see fields specific to the type of source you selected. Fill them in with the information for your item.

Adding Items by Identifier

  • Click the “Add Item by Identifier” button at the top of the middle column of the Zotero pane.


The "Add Item by Identifier" icon

  • Type or paste in the identifier, e.g. ISBN, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), or PubMed ID, and press Enter.

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