Citations or references (called items) are stored in a folder “My Library”, and you can create sub-folders (called collections). Collections can be set up with Advanced Search function to automatically add new items.

You can assign tags to each item for later retrieval. Items can have notes, files and links attached to them. File attachments, such as PDFs and images, can be opened within Firefox, and other file-types open in external programs. Web pages are attached as links, or snapshots of the page on a particular date.

When searching the Internet, you can add items (including PDFs when available) to ‘My Library’ by clicking on the ‘Capture’ icon on the Zotero toolbar or add items manually.

One of the main features is the ability to create and join research groups on a specific topic. Each group can share its own research library, complete with files, bibliographic data, notes, and discussion threads.

Plug-ins for word processors

Plug-ins are available for Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.

In-text citations, footnotes and endnotes are all supported. Zotero can insert citations and bibliographies into any text field or program. Simply drag-and-drop items, and use ‘Quick Copy’ to send citations to the clipboard, or export them directly to a file.

Bibliographies are automatically generated and styles can be changed at any time.

It can be used with Google Docs, but at the moment (November 2011) there is no way to get an automatically updating bibliography in a Google Document.

Referencing styles supported

Zotero supports 1,767 styles, including APA 6th, Vancouver, several versions of Chicago and Harvard. New citation styles can be created and added to this list. A full list of styles is available.

Storage limits

Each user gets 300 MB of free storage for attached files, with larger storage plans available for purchase.

Access and downloads

Please note: software cannot be downloaded or installed on RMIT lab computers.

Websites transfer their data to Zotero through ‘translators’. There is a list of the compatible sites, which includes Pub Med, Scopus and EbscoHOST and many library catalogues. You can capture book records from LibrarySearch into Zotero. Make sure that sufficient details are captured. When tested in May 2013 you cannot capture article records.


Help is available from Zotero’s website. RMIT does not provide assistance with this software.

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