Skip to Main Content

Mat-Su College: Zotero, a free citation manager

An introduction to Zotero, a free, open source citation manager.

Before installing

A typical Zotero workflow means using two pieces of software:

  • the Zotero client that you use to manage your references; it is here that you organize references into folders, generate bibliographies, attach notes and files, and so on;
  • the Zotero Connector browser plugin that adds an icon to your browser's toolbar; when clicked, details of the webpage, article, book, etc., that you're looking at are automatically saved to the Zotero client.

This will make more sense once we see how Zotero works in practice!

While we won't cover them here, note that other workflows are possible. You could skip using the Zotero Connector plugin entirely if you were comfortable manually typing the details of every reference into the Zotero client. You can also forgo installing the Zotero client in order to use the Zotero online library in its place (free account required). This would mean manually entering references into the Zotero online library website or using the Zotero Connector to transfer references into your Zotero online library.

Getting Zotero

  1. Go to the Zotero website.
  2. Click "Download."
  3. At the download page, download the Zotero client for Linux, Windows, or macOS -- and install the Zotero Connector plugin for your browser (there are plugins for Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari, plus a bookmarklet that will work in any browser).

For help with installation see the official documentation's Installation Instructions.