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Writing & Citing Help

Downloading Zotero

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a tool that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It lives in the web browser and as an application on your computer. You must download and install it before getting started. Zotero will not work with Internet Explorer but there are connectors for Google Chrome and Safari.

  1. Go to Zotero's site
  2. Download Zotero. With Zotero you can access your references from any computer with Zotero installed.
  3. If this is your first time using Zotero, you will have to create a free account. This creates a space for you on the Zotero server and allows you to add or access your references from any computer through the Zotero interface.

Importing and Creating References

There are several ways to add references to your Zotero library.  Make sure you always check the references for accuracy. Sometimes Zotero can't understand everything.

To Download a Reference from a Library Catalog

  1. Find your item in the catalog
  2. At the far right of the url bar is an icon that will indicate what kind of reference you have (book, movie, etc.)
  3. Click on that icon and the reference will be added to Zotero
  4. Drag your reference into a folder

To Download a Reference from a Database

  1. Open up the record for the article you want (usually clicking on the title of the article)
  2. Again in the url bar far right, is an icon that will indicate what kind of reference you have (book, movie, etc.)
  3. Click on that icon and the reference will be added to Zotero.
  4. Notice that you will also import the abstract and a link to any full text, if attached.
  5. Drag the record into a folder.

To Download a Website Reference

  1. Bring up the website that you wish to add to your references.
  2. This time there is no icon in the url bar.
  3. Open the Zotero window and click on the button with a paper and a plus
  4. Your website will be added to Zotero
  5. Drag the record into a folder

To Enter Bibliographic Details

  1. Click on the Plus (+) button on the Zotero bar
  2. Select the type of document you have
  3. Fill out the bibliographic details
  4. Drag the record to your collection folder

Syncing Data

So that your data is available from any machine, and saved on Zotero's server (this way you don't have to carry your computer around) you need to sync or save your information. To do so, you must have created an account at Zotero (free) and be logged into that account.

  1. Make sure you have created an account. You will need to remember you login and password
  2. Under the Gear Icon select Preferences
  3. Choose Sync
  4. Fill in user name and password (sometimes it may already be filled in)
  5. Click Sync automatically
  6. Close the window
  7. In the Zotero control bar the circular arrow is the sync button.

Creating a Bibliography

To create a bibliography from your sources

  1. Go to the Gear Icon
  2. Preferences
  3. Export
  4. Select the Default Output Format. If you are just doing a bibliography select "with bibliography" if applicable.
  5. Once you have set this, this is the default, unless you change the setting
  6. Open a word processing document (like Microsoft Word or Google Docs)
  7. Drag your reference to your word document.
  8. Double check the format (spaces, spellings, periods). You will have to do the hanging indents, etc. and alphabetize your bibliographic list

Printable Zotero instructions

Earlham College • 801 National Road West • Richmond, Indiana 47374-4095