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Zotero: a beginner's guide

How do I add my sources?

There are four ways to add sources to the Zotero Application:

  1. Zotero Browser Connector (this works best with the library databases)
  2. Enter a standard number (ISBN, DOI) via Zotero application
  3. Manually enter a citation in Zotero application
  4. Drag a PDF article into your Zotero library

OPTION 1: Zotero Connector

Step 1: visit the browser's web store (this is an example from Chrome)

Step 2: Using the Connector

  • This 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.

Add content via the Zotero Connector

  1. Open the Zotero application so it is running
  2. Select the online item you want to add (a website, article, book, PDF)
  3. Look for the save icon (here is an example from an EBSCO article). My "save" is the little folder on the bottom right side.


Step 3: Choose the options you see listed above and the item will appear in the Zotero application like this with the necessary bibliographic informaton: 



OPTION 2: Standard Number: ISBN or DOI

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

  • ISBN - book identifier 
  • Digital Object Identifier (DOI) - many scholarly articles have this number
  • 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 copy and paste it)
  3. Press the Enter key
  4. If the item is found a new reference is created in Zotero with the bibliographic information

OPTION 3: Manually Enter

Add items manually is easy!

  • Open Zotero
  • Select the green plus (+) sign
  • Select the item type from the drop-down menu 
  • An place holder for the item type will now appear
  • Enter the author, title, date, publisher, etc. (bibliographic information) in the right panel
  • The empty space will change with the new information.

OPTION 4: Drag a PDF

You have two options for PDF uploads: 

  •  Set this option in your preferences: 

Automatically attach PDFs to Zotero check box

  • Drag and drop
    • Open Zotero
    • Find the PDF on your computer
    • Drag PDF into Zotero application
    • Zotero will look for the citation automatically
    • It should now appear under the title of reference