Zotero: Conducting Research

Managing Citations

Keeping Track of Research

During the course of your research, you will encounter valuable articles, books, websites and more that you will want to make reference to in your own writing.  Keeping track of all of the information associated with research quickly becomes a chore. 

Zotero makes managing this information much simpler by allowing you to store citations throughout the research process.  There are several ways of storing these citations depending on where you find the material.

Capturing Citations

Automatic Import

By far the most convenient method of capturing citations is through automatic import.  Generally, citations can be automatically imported from an online source directly from your preferred browser as long as you have the Zotero Connector installed.  Typical places you might encounter citation data able to be directly imported are:

  • Library catalogs
  • Library databases
  • Websites
  • Other online material

Save to Zotero


When you see the "Save to Zotero" button enabled in your browser while searching a library database, simply click it and Zotero will capture all of the relevant information related to your citation.  It will also store and link a pdf of the full text article if available.  If the resource you are looking at is a website then Zotero will take a screen capture of the site and store it along with your citation.


The icon shown on the "Save to Zotero" button depends on the type of resource you are currently looking at: the icon will look different for journal articles, books, websites etc.  You will find a corresponding icon in your Zotero application to help you quickly organize your various types of resources.

Automatic Import allows you to quickly save both the citation and the full text of the article on the fly.  This way you can move through your research workflow quickly without getting interrupted to manually manage your citations.  Once you have completed your search, you can return to Zotero and begin making use of your stored citations.  

Manually Entering Citations

Manual Entry

Sometimes the automatic import is not available to you.  Maybe you are conducting research on a public computer without the Zotero connector installed, or maybe you are making use of material in a non electronic format.  Either way you will need to go back and enter your citations manually after you have completed your search.zotero_manual_citations_entry.png



To Manually Enter Citations

  1. Select "New Item" from the File Menu and choose the type of resource at hand.
  2. Enter as much information as you can from the resource you have.  Entering this information now will make citing from the resource later and generating a bibliography much easier. 

Importing libraries

Importing Libraries

Sometimes you may want to import entire libraries into Zotero.  Maybe you are moving to Zotero from another Citation management tool, or maybe you are using a bibliography generated by another scholar.  Either way importing libraries is easy in Zotero.  



  1. From the File Menu click Import
  2. Browse to the file you would like to import
  3. Click Open