Zotero is a free option for citation management and is cited as the citation manager of choice by many librarians. This is not just because it is a not-for-profit citation manager originally created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, but it is also a flexible and well-supported system with features such as:
1.) Visit the Zotero homepage, https://www.zotero.org/, and click the "Download" button in the center of the screen.
2.) To have the full functionality of Zotero, download both components from this page. The website should be able to sense what system and browser are used. The system will automatically guide you to download the components needed for the browser and system used. If you require other download packages Linux, Windows, and Mac are available. Browser connectors are available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
3.) These steps will prompt the download of an executable file (.exe), run that file, and open up Zotero to ensure success.
To ensure the success of the Zotero browser connector, you may need to restart the browser. Here are examples of where your Zotero connector should be in each of the browser types. You only need to have one of the browser connectors, but having more will not interfere with processes. It's recommended to add the browser connector on your most frequently used browser.
The browser connector is a small icon that resides near your URL bar. This icon will light up and take on different icons when various item types are recognized during your web browsing and searching. As an example, here is a Google Scholar search, this search when brought up in any browser will turn into a folder icon. The folder icon represents that there are multiple items on the screen which you may want to add to your library. In contrast, when looking at the homepage of Google Scholar, the icon should be inactive.
While in the inactive mode, clicking on the icon will save the current location as a webpage in your Zotero library. The webpage will be somewhat limited in what types of data it can pull. When searching web databases, it may take a few moments for the icon to recognize the content in the browser and become active.
As of January 2020, the Safari Connector is in Beta. To add it, download the Zotero beta and in your Safari browser, enable the extension by navigating to Safari >> Preferences, and turn on the Zotero extension. Because this version is in beta, it may be glitchy at times - it's recommended to also add the extensions in another browser as a backup.
Once Zotero is downloaded, the next step is to create an account.
1.) Open the register website and create an account. You'll get an email that you need to confirm before your account will be active.
2.) Once you've confirmed your account, click on your Zotero desktop application. Navigate in the top menu to Zotero >> Preferences. Once the preferences window is open, click on the "Sync" icon across the top of the preferences window. This is where you'll enter the username and password created in step 1.
3.) Once you are signed in, several options will appear in the "Data Syncing" window. These include:
It's good to consider how you manage your workflow when deciding whether to enable these options. Syncing automatically may be good practice if you are usually connected to the web when using your library. Syncing full-text content is going to allow you to access PDFs and other attachments across multiple computers, but also has the limitation of 300mb of storage for free. More storage can be purchased from Zotero at a yearly rate. If you are planning to have private group libraries for sharing PDFs and other documents, you must have the storage enabled for those libraries.
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