Get Started

  1. Go to Zotero.org using your Firefox browser. Chrome or Safari will also work, but Firefox tends to have better luck.
  2. Click “Register” in the top right corner to create an account for Zotero. Using your OSU email address will give you more memory. You’ll be able to keep the account after you graduate. This is for syncing your saved articles from one computer to another.
  3. Back on the Downloads page, click Install Zotero for Firefox and agree to the various steps. Firefox will restart and when it comes back, you’ll have a new “Z” tool in your toolbar.
  4. Click the “Z” to open the Zotero pane at the bottom of your Firefox window. From this pane, click the gear wheel icon, then Preferences. Go to the Sync tab and login with your Zotero account. Now you’re ready to add articles and sources! But we still need the Word plugin …
  5. Back on the Zotero Downloads page, click the link for “plugin for Word” and then choose the right version for your computer system. This will require Firefox to restart (the plugin communicates with your Zotero library in Firefox) and then a new toolbar / menu will appear in Word.
  6. To pull in sources, use Firefox to search Library 1SearchGoogle Scholar, or our many databases. The Zotero icon in Firefox will change, based on the kind of source(s) you’re looking at.  Always double-check the information in Zotero to make sure you’re getting accurate data about your sources.
  7. After you’ve read through your sources, made notes, and want to start drafting your paper, open Word and look for a menu or tab called Zotero (ask us if you’re having any problems). When your cursor is at the end of a sentence where you have quoted, summarized, or paraphrased any information from a source, use the Add Citation button. On your first time, it will ask for a style — many people choose American Psychological Association (APA) or Modern Language Association (MLA). In the red Zotero bar, type part of a source’s author or title to see it appear in a list. Choose it from the list, hit Enter, and the in-text citation will be in your paper.
  8. Once you’re done adding sources to your paper, go the end and use “Insert Bibliography” to get an automatic list of the works you cited.

In a Nutshell

Zotero is a free easy tool for capturing all your sources for that big paper or assignment.  Zotero can help you remember articles, web pages, YouTube vidoes, books from the library or even books from Amazon.  And then Zotero will help you build a bibliography!

But like all magic, it comes with a price.  You will still need to check the citations Zotero pulls in about your sources to make sure the information is complete and accurate.  Sometimes a DOI number is left off or the wrong type is applied (article vs. book chapter vs. encyclopedia).  Once you’ve checked to make sure the information is correct, you’ll be making bibliographies just for fun. 

Get started with the OSU Valley Library Guide to Zotero. Check out the OSU Libraries videos and be sure to look at using Zotero with the Library catalog.

Various ways of getting articles into Zotero

Tips and Tricks for using Zotero

Zotero Screencasts

Extensive Zotero Resource from WSU

Zotero Troubleshooting and Quick Start Guides: http://www.zotero.org/support/

In More Detail

To get set-up on Zotero …

See the YouTube playlist of Zotero videos for more help.

  1. Go to Zotero.org and click on Register in the top right corner
  2. After you have created your account (and saved your info somewhere!), install the following:
  3. Make sure all your shiny new Zotero things are logged-in to your Zotero account.
    • Look for “Settings” or “Preferences” or a spoked wheel icon. Login under the Sync tab.  Under the Export tab, set your default citation style.
  4. Test out the new toy in a library database or Google Scholar.