1. Can I transfer my references from another citation manager to Zotero?
Yes, you can. Zotero.org has general instructions here and also has more detailed instructions for switching from EndNote to Zotero here. You can also export your Zotero library to another citation manager if you find that Zotero does not meet your needs.
2. I already have a large collection of citations on an Excel spreadsheet. Can I convert it to a Zotero library?
Unfortunately there's no way to do this automatically. Zotero can only import the following bibliographic file formats:
The best way to do import references from an Excel spreadsheet is to search for your references online and add them one at a time into your Zotero library. If you have PDFs along with your citations, you can try importing the PDF files into your library and have Zotero search for the metadata. If there is metadata attached to the PDF or if Zotero can find the information through Google Scholar, then it will create a new item and attach the PDF to it automatically.
3. What will happen to my account if I leave UW-Whitewater?
Your Zotero account is independent of your affiliation with UW-Whitewater. In fact, anyone can use Zotero and create an online account for free.
4. Title capitalization is not always correct when I format my bibliography or import a reference. How can I change this automatically?
Most databases use inconsistent title capitalization. Sometimes a title will be exported from a database:
In order for Zotero to format the title correctly for any citation style, you want the title of the reference in your Zotero Library in Sentence case, that is, with the first letter of the title capitalized as well as any proper nouns or acronyms.
Example for an article title: Common core standards for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects.
To easily create sentence case:
If the capitalization is still not correct when Zotero inserts a citation into your paper or a reference into your bibliography, then the Citation Style Language (CSL) may not be correct for your particular citation style. You can ask if the style needs to be updated by posting in the Zotero forums.
5. Title italics is not always correct when I format my bibliography or import a reference. How can I change this automatically?
Binomial (scientific) names, foreign language words and phrases, or titles of another work within a title need to be italicized when Zotero exports the final citation into a text document. Zotero does not automatically recognize italics when importing records.
This article title displays italics correctly when inserted into a text document:
Yang, F., Qureshi, J. A., Leonard, B. R., Head, G. P., Niu, Y., & Huang, F. (2013). Susceptibility of Louisiana and Florida populations of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to pyramided Bt corn containing Genuity®Vt Double ProTM and SmartstaxTM traits. Florida Entomologist, 96(3), 714–723. https://doi.org/10.1653/024.096.0303
The book title displays italics and reverse italics correctly when inserted in a text document:
6. What is the difference between EndNote, EndNote Web, RefWorks, Mendeley, and Zotero?
7. Can I sync my Zotero Library by placing my Zotero database in a cloud storage system such as Dropbox?
No, you cannot do this without potentially corrupting your Zotero database. You can sync your data over multiple computers by creating an account on Zotero.org and setting up Zotero sync.
8. Can I use Zotero with a VPN from off-campus?
Zotero does not work well with web-based VPNs (such as vpn.uww.edu) as the VPN webpage is what the Zotero connector is searching for bibliographic data instead of the "inner" Library webpage. In order to efficiently use Zotero with a VPN, you will need to download and use a desktop application for the VPN. For UW-Whitewater users, more information about downloading and using desktop versions of the VPN are located at ICIT's website.
If you just need to add a few articles while using a web-based VPN, try manually downloading the PDFs to your computer, then dragging and dropping the PDF into your Zotero library. Then you can right-click on the PDF and select Retrieve Metadata for PDF. If no metadata can be found, right-click on the PDF and select Create Parent Item from Selected Item.
Contact Diana Shull, email@example.com, for a 1-on-1 tutorial or to set up a workshop for a class or small group.
Zotero is an open-source project that has a large community of dedicated users active in Zotero Forums, an online discussion board. You can post your question or problem and Zotero administrators as well as users will answer your questions. Make sure to search the forums for your topic first, as someone else may have previously posted with the same questions/problem.
Zotero also maintains a "Tips & Tricks" webpage.