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Engineering and Natural Sciences Student Quick Guide: Zotero

This LibGuide will introduce you to some of the major research sources available from McFarlin Library in the field of ENS.

What is Zotero?

Zotero logoZotero is "citation management software".  Its purpose is to help you manage bibliographies and cite your sources in a research paper.  Zotero is easy to use and FREE.  Complete documentation, including tutorials, is available on the Zotero website:

Zotero is both 100% free and completely safe to use.  It's produced by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, with funding from the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

What will Zotero do for me?

Using Zotero you may:

  • Collect Sources: Download citations for books, journal articles and other materials while you're doing research from:
    • Summon
    • Library databases
    • Google Scholar
    • Websites (including Wikipedia)
    • ... and more
  • Organize Sources: Within Zotero you may manage and edit the citations you've downloaded for all the different research projects/papers you may be working on.
  • Cite Sources: As you write you may import into your paper all the sources you need to cite directly from Zotero.  They will be formatted in whatever style you're using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) both as inline citations and in the bibliography or list of works cited.  Zotero is compatible with Microsoft Word, Google Docs and Libre Office.
  • Create Bibliographies: Zotero easily creates stand-alone bibliographies in whatever style you choose for whatever references you want to include.
  • Share Research: By setting up a free Zotero account (on the Zotero website) you can easily share references with other TU students and collaborate in class research projects as well as sync your references among multiple computers.

Library Lookup

Zotero has a feature called "Library Lookup" that will connect a Zotero citation with the library catalog where you may quickly check to see if the full text of the article is available from McFarlin Library or place an ILLIAD request if it isn't.  In order for this to work, you will need to change your Zotero Preferences by doing the following:

  1. While in Zotero, go to the Edit menu and select Preferences.  In Preferences, click on the Advanced tab.
  2. Look for the section called "OpenURL" and type the following in the "Resolver:" text box:
  3. Then click OK.

To check for the full text availability of a citation:

Zotero Library Lookup

  1. Highlight the citation in Zotero
  2. Look to the right of the "All Fields & Tags" search box on the Zotero menu bar and click on the green arrow.  You'll get a drop-down menu.
  3. On that drop-down menu, select "Library Lookup"
  4. This will open a screen in your browser that will show the availability of the full text of the item and provide a link to ILLIAD if the item is not available from McFarlin Library.

Zotero Help

The librarians at McFarlin would be happy to assist you in installing or using Zotero. Just set up a personalized research assistance appointment.

Quick Tip video on how to Download Zotero

Quick Tip video on how to use Zotero.

How do I get Zotero?

Zotero is available to download for FREE.

Zotero connector icon in Chrome

Zotero uses "connectors" to communicate with the browser you're using.  Once you install Zotero, open the browser you want to use and go to, then pick your browser from the list and install the extension.  You will then be able to  download, edit and organize your references. Just click on the folder in the toolbar to import citations.

Zotero also provides word processor plug-ins that integrate with Microsoft Word and LibreOffice.  With these you may use Zotero to automatically create bibliographies as well as incorporate citations and footnotes into the text of your research paper. 

NOTE: Zotero extensions are available for the following browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari.