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Zotero: Get Started

What is Zotero?

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a free, open-source citation-management service that helps students and researchers:

  • Collect and organize many types of references from online services such as article databases, Research@UWW and other library catalogs, Google Scholar, blogs, and other websites.
  • Store an unlimited number of references on your computer.
  • Capture PDFs from article databases and automatically attach them to the correct reference. 
  • Sync up to 300 MB of references and files with your online account and other computers for free. There is an option to purchase more storage space. 
  • Share references and collaborate with other Zotero users.
  • Create citations and bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.
  • Insert citations and bibliograhies into word processing documents.  Compatible with Microsoft Word, Open Office, and Google Docs.

Get started with Zotero.

Zotero for Firefox versus Zotero Standalone

Which Zotero should I use?

Zotero is available in two different forms that both work with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems: Zotero for Firefox and Zotero Standalone.

Zotero for Firefox:

  • Operates as a pane or a tab inside Firefox
  • Eliminates the need to open a separate application to edit and manage your references during the research process

Zotero Standalone:

  • You can use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox
  • You want to view Zotero in its own application window instead of inside a browser

You can install both Zotero for Firefox and Zotero Standalone on the same computer.  Caution: If you have the Zotero pane open in Firefox and then try to open Zotero Standalone you will get a message warning you that two separate Zotero applications are trying to access the same database.  Close out of the Zotero for Firefox pane (although you do not have to quit Firefox) and then try opening Zotero Standalone again.

Getting Started with Zotero

A Cautionary Note

Warning: Citation managers and formatters are provided for your convenience only. Please use them with caution. They are not foolproof and do not guarantee correct results. Be sure to review the results to check for formatting, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, required elements, etc. for the citation style you are using.

Consult the appropriate official style manual for the definitive answer to your citation questions. Some examples of citations in APA, MLA and Turabian styles are available in the Library's Citing References guides. For additional assistance, please contact the library reference desk in person, by phone at (262) 472-1032 or by Ask a Librarian email/chat. If you need help planning, composing, revising, or editing your paper, including reviewing your citations, please visit the Writing Center in McCutchan Hall.

Reference & Instructional Technology Librarian

Diana Shull's picture
Diana Shull
Andersen Library
Rm. 2110B