Collecting References: Books and Articles

Zotero provides the ability to save references from most library catalogs, and databases, and regular web pages with one click. The icon for the Zotero add-on in Firefox or the Zotero Connector for Chrome or Safari will change to look like an article, book, or web page (blue-ish page) depending on what Zotero can figure out about what you're looking at in your browser. Just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation. Here's more information on how to do that.

If you're on a page of search results with many items, you'll see a folder icon instead. Click this to get a list of all the items on the page, and check off the ones you want to save.

Collecting References: Manually Enter References

If you can't collect item information from a website, you can directly enter citation information for that item into Zotero.

  1. In Zotero, click the green icon with the plus sign in it
  2. Select the type of item you want to add (many more item types are available under "more").
  3. Fill in the item's citation information in the boxes provided.

If you wish, you can drag PDFs or image files onto the resulting entry for the item.

Seeing if the Library has access to the full text of an article

If you have collected citations to articles but not the full text, Zotero can help you find the full text.

If you are using a Carleton lab computer:

  1. Highlight an article
  2. Click the arrow button that says "Locate" when you hover over it
  3. Select "Library Lookup"
  4. If we have the full text of the article, you can attach the file using the instructions below.

If you are using your own computer:

  1. Configure the OpenURL settings in the "Advanced" section of the "Preferences"
  2. Highlight an article
  3. Click the arrow button that says "Locate" when you hover over it
  4. Select "Library Lookup"
  5. If we have the full text of the article, you can attach the file using the instructions below.

Adding Files (like PDFs)

1) Drag & Drop onto a citation

It's easy to attach files (like PDFs) to items in your Zotero library.  Just drag the file into your Zotero pane.  Dropping a file onto a collection, or in between library items, will copy it into your library as a standalone item.  Dropping it onto an existing item will attach it to that item.  This is the easiest way to attach a copy of an article to its entry in your library.

Each item also has an Attachments tab in the right column.  You can attach files by clicking the Attachments tab and then the Add button.

TIP: Once you have attached the files, you may want to have Zotero automatically update the name of the file for you. Right-click (or comm+click on a Mac) on the file and select "Rename File from Parent Metadata."


2) Drag & Drop without a previously existing citation

You can also drag a file directly into your Zotero library without first adding a citation entry. Once you've done that, you can right-click (command click on a Mac) on the new file and select one of these options:

  1. "Retrieve Metadata for PDF"
    Zotero will attempt to read and find citation information for this file automatically. If it fails, you can go on to step 2.
  2. "Create Parent Item"
    Zotero will give you a blank set of fields, and you can fill in the citation information manually.


Organizing Your Library

Click the Zotero button at the bottom of your browser to open your library. At the top left is a folder button with a green plus sign. Click this to create a new "collection."

Create collections to organize your references. Collections are like file folders on your computer, but a reference can be in more than one collection at a time. In other words, a book on the Civil War could be filed in your "Civil War" collection, your "Georgia History" collection and your "19th Century America" collection without having to make three copies of the reference.

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