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Hi everyone, in this section of citation management tutorial we're going to be talking about how to manage your citations in Zotero. This is meant to be a crash course or an overview it's not meant to get into all of the features and functions of the program. The best way to see if this is something that's going to work for you is to really sit for about an hour or so play around with it and get comfortable with it. Zotero is a program that lets you manage all of the citations that you have for your research materials and it's available in two different versions. To get the full functionality I recommend that you use both of those versions so that you can store your collections both online and then on your own computer or in fact as many computers as you use.
Zotero is a program that allows you to collect the information that you need about each of the resources you use, to organize those resources into collections that make sense to you, to format citations and create bibliographies, and then to sync everything between your online account and any of the computers that you have it installed on. The first thing you want to do to get started on Zotero is to go to zotero.org and register for your free account by clicking on register in the upper right hand corner In order to get the full functionality like I said you want to have your online account which lets you access your collections of citations from anywhere that you have the Internet but you also want to have the piece that lives on your computer and so to do that after you've registered for your free account you want to click on download now and you have two different options.
You have Zotero for Firefox which is an add-on that lives in your Firefox browser and then you have Zotero standalone and this works with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari but it looks a little bit different and it opens up in a separate application than your browser. I'm going to be working with Zotero for Firefox so it'll look just a little bit different for any of you who uses the standalone version. Once you've downloaded and installed this version either version of Firefox on your computer you're going to see this Zotero logo down in the bottom right hand corner of your browser pane. When you click on this logo it opens the Zotero pane and this is the pane that lets you see all of the items in your collection.
You can add organize and edit citations from both your online account and from your Zotero browser version but you can only create bibliographies and format citations from this browser version but we're going to talk more about that in just a little bit. Before you start adding citations to your new Zotero library we need to do a little housekeeping first so with the pane open click on the gear icon and then select preferences. Under general you want to make sure that all of the miscellaneous and group boxes are checked and under sync you want to add your username and password that you've just created with your online account and you want to make sure that this box sync automatically is checked.
This makes sure that all of your accounts sync when you add new resources to any of your Zotero accounts. There are a number of different ways to import your citations into your Zotero library and many times you can do it right from your browser. When Zotero recognizes something that it can import you'll see an icon in the address bar. Just a note for those of you who are using the standalone version it's going to be an icon that's to the left of your address bar. So for this New York Times article you can see a newspaper icon here and all you have to do is click on the icon to import the citation. If you look down at the right-hand side you can see a little box that pops up that tells you that it's saving to your Zotero account and to check on that click on the Zotero icon down here which opens your Zotero pane and you can see this is the information that it imported.
It has it listed by title but over here on the right you can see all of the information that it picked up so you have all of the bibliographic data that you need to ultimately create a citation. You also have the URL if you ever need to get back to this article In this section you can also add notes, you can add tags sometimes tags are imported and you can either keep them or delete them, or you can link this article to another related article in your Zotero library and when the arrow is spinning you can see that it's syncing You can also import items to Zotero right from the UNC library catalog. If you click on the record for a book that you want to import the information you'll see up here in the address bar that the icon is changed and now it's a book Zotero is recognizing that this is bibliographic data from a book and so if you click on that again it saves the item lets you know down in the right-hand corner and to check you can open your Zotero account and there it is all of the data that you need to crceate a citation and you can do the same additions over here.
You can also import Zotero items from a lot of the library databases that you're going to be using to do your research so we're in communication and mass media complete. I see an article that I want to save and create a citation for and we learned that one way you can do it over here is to click on cite and you can copy and paste but if you want to import it directly into Zotero click on the icon up here it looks like a sheet of paper and it saves it right to your Zotero account so now we have three items in our Zotero library. There are a few other ways that you can add items to your Zotero library and let's open this up a little bit so we can see the whole thing If you look up here at this toolbar and you click on the green button you can add an item manually so it gives you some initial options as to what kind of resource it is but if the resource that you're importing isn't any of these look down at more and you have all of these options.
It creates the item and you simply have to fill in the information. You can also add an item based on the web page that you're on. Basically what this does is it saves the URL for you it pulls out some other information like maybe the title sometimes it'll give you the date or the author's name if there is one and it'll tell you that it's a web page and you simply have to fill in the rest of the information yourself. If you click on the wand icon you can add an item by the ISBN, the DOI, the ISSN, or the PubMed ID. That's a really fast and easy way to do it. Another really quick and easy way that you can add resources to your Zotero library is if you have them saved as PDFs on your desktop.
All you need to do is click on the PDF and drag it into the Zotero pane and drop it there and it will import the PDF file and we can do that with a few of these. These are all PDFs that I've downloaded from communication and mass media complete and so now we have the PDFs and we can open them right from Zotero. They are saved as files in your account but you can see if you look over here that we don't have any bibliographic data for any of them so no title no author any of that and there are a couple of different ways that you can handle this.
The easiest although it doesn't work all the time it's always worth trying is to right-click on the PDF title and come down here to retrieve metadata for PDF and what this is going to do is it tells Zotero to try to look up what that information is so click on retrieve metadata it usually takes no more than a few seconds and unfortunately for this PDF which is a SWOT analysis we couldn't find Zotero couldn't find any matching references so we're going to have to import that one manually and to do that again you right click on it and come down here to create parent item for the document and so what that does you see this arrow that's been created over here if you click on that here's the original PDF that we imported and here's a section now where we can type in the information that we need to save it and to format a citation later. So let's try one of these other PDFs. I'm going to right click on this one and come down to retrieve metadata for PDF and it searched and it found so if you look over here it found all of the information title author's everything that you need to be able to create a citation for it so once you have all of these resources in your Zotero library there are a number of different ways to organize them.
As I mentioned before you can tag them and the tags will usually show up down here on the bottom left hand side of your Zotero pane. If you look up here on the left hand side and click on my library this shows everything that you've imported but you can also create subfolders and organize different sections of resources and to do that all you need to do is right click on my library, click on new collection, and it lets you name the folder. You can rename the folder if you want to later and so all you need to do is drag items from your library into that folder and to see what's in the folder click on it and it shows you the items that you have. That doesn't remove items from this section from this folder you can have items in as many folders or subfolders as you want to.
To create a subfolder you right-click on your folder, click on new sub collection and you can create as many sub collections as you want to as well. The last feature I want to go over with Zotero is how to format citations and create bibliographies. Remember you can only do this from the browser-based version the version that you downloaded you can't do this from your online version. To create a single citation from an item in your Zotero library all you have to do is right-click on that item and come down to create bibliography from selected item. You can choose the citation style that you prefer to use have this as set as bibliography and what I usually do is copy to clipboard and that allows me to simply paste the citation into a document that I'm using and click OK so from here we can open a document and paste our citation.
To create a bibliography using multiple resources in your Zotero library all you need to do is choose which folder that you want to create a bibliography of, right-click on it, come down to create bibliography from collection, go through the same steps, choose your citation style, make sure that this is set to bibliography and copy to clipboard click OK and you can open a document and paste it in. Always make sure that you go over your bibliography or your citation after it's been created and double check to make sure that it's formatted correctly and that there's not information missing. If there is missing information or if you notice that it doesn't quite look right chances are that it comes from how the information was entered and interpreted by Zotero so for a citation that doesn't look right go back and find the item and go over and see that all of the information here looks correct.
This was a quick overview of some of the main features of Zotero. If you have any questions you can always check these Zotero documentation online it does a really great job of breaking down all of the features of Zotero and the steps that you need to take to use them. They also have a really robust support forum if you ever need to troubleshoot. At UNC libraries we also have an online guide to help you use Zotero. If you go to the UNC library homepage click on writing and citing and then Zotero. This is a librarian created guide that walks you through some of the basic and more advanced features that Zotero has to offer. Also available through UNC libraries is a book that actually I found very helpful called Zotero a guide for librarians researchers and educators and finally you can always get in touch with us at the Park Library if you have any questions about formatting citations or about using Zotero. You can email us or chat us give us a call or drop by.
See our Mendeley guide to download Mendeley and find support resources to use it effectively.