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Mat-Su College: Zotero, a free citation manager

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

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free, open-source reference manager developed since 2006. It has the backing of universities and non-profits.

A reference manager like Zotero lets you manage references, or details of the books, articles, and webpages that you read. Using Zotero you can quickly and easily import the details of any webpage, article, or book that you might later use in a paper. Zotero can store notes and copies of articles. You can organize references by topic. You can even use Zotero to instantly generate a bibliography or works cited list.

In the GIF below, you can see that it takes just 15 seconds to save a reference from a database into Zotero, and to export it from Zotero as bibliography:

Animated image showing three things in order: viewing an article on sabre-toothed tigers in Academic Search Premier, then clicking the Zotero Connector browser icon to save the article to Zotero; the article in Zotero, at which point the user right clicks it and chooses Create Bibliography; then copying and pasting the output of the last step into Microsoft word, which creates an appropriately formatted works cited list using just that one article.

Why use Zotero over alternatives like RefWorks or NoodleTools?

There are other products that aim to do the things Zotero does. Why would you use Zotero over alternatives like RefWorks, EndNote, Mendeley, or NoodleTools?

Zotero has many things going for it:

  • Zotero is free and open source.
  • Zotero can be run on your local computer without any account. (With free account, you can also use Zotero entirely within your web browser.)
  • Zotero's free and optional accounts (used for cloud storage) are not tied to your enrollment status; you will not lose your account once you graduate or move to another school.
  • Zotero is easy to use and integrates well with many academic databases and websites.

Copyright (or lack thereof)

To the extent possible under law, Micah Muer has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Mat-Su College: Zotero, a free citation manager. This work is published from: United States.