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Zotero – What’s the attraction?

Zotero can help you:

  • Annotate and organize research results, including video.
  • Save information about a reference, including author, title, and other publication information.
  • Create libraries and save searches, and share collections with other people.
  • Attach files, links, notes, and pdfs to records.
  • Store a screenshot of a web page.
  • Export information as formatted citations in word processing programs (Word, Google Docs).
  • Tag and sort records and perform advanced searches.
  • View records in personal collection when offline.
  • Cite records in any language.

Some points to consider before you start using Zotero:


  • Great for importing records for non-traditional references, like wikis and websites.
  • Allows advanced searching of your library.
  • Helps to organize web screenshots and pdfs. You can make pdfs searchable by choosing to index them in the preferences menu.
  • Easily imports records from many of the resources you already use.
  • The program lives where you already do most of your research, in the browser.
  • Export your bibliography in HTML, and publish a “smart CV.”
  • Imports records from several major databases that won’t work with RefWorks and EndNote, including Factiva and USPTO.
  • It’s user-friendly and free!
  • Easily retrieves pdf metadata, like title and author information.
  • Great for creating bibliographies in
  • Synchronizes collections among multiple computers & backs up data.
  • Offers option to create user profiles and groups, so you can share your collection.
  • Detects proxy servers automatically, making off-campus access to library databases easier.


  • Doesn’t handle large collections well.
  • Takes more time to maintain than other popular products, like RefWorks or EndNote. It’s a good idea to check records after you import them, to make sure that everything is in order.
  • Zotero doesn’t have a feature to find duplicate records, so you need to delete them manually. This can be time consuming, if you have a large library.


MIT Libraries. (n.d.). What is Zotero? MIT Libraries. Retrieved March 7, 2010, from

Posted in Citation management, Professional-development.

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