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Zotero Citation Management: Collecting References

Research/source organizing

Books and Articles

One of Zotero's most convenient features is its ability to find bibliographic information on the web pages you visit.  

When Viewing a Single Record

When you are looking at the record for an object from an online source such as a library catalog, the Zotero button in your browser's toolbar will indicate that Zotero has detected a particular type of object.  

The following images provide icon examples for different browsers, all showing Zotero detecting a "Book" object:

‚ÄčZotero Book Icon (Firefox)

Zotero Safari Icon (Safari)

Clicking on this book icon will instruct Zotero to save all of the bibliographic information about that object from this page to your library, in a newly created item.

When Viewing Multiple Items

You can even capture information about multiple items from a list of search results.  Zotero will show a folder icon that will open a window in which you can select the items that you want to save to your library:


Tips to Remember While Collecting Items

  • Zotero requires the desktop application to be open before it can pull items from the web connector.
  • Zotero will default to saving your new objects to the collection you have selected in the left-hand column of your  desktop application (you have the ability to change this default every time you save an object with the drop-down menu that appears when you save).
  • Whether or not Zotero can recognize bibliographic information on a web page depends on the web page. Some websites use a standard way to provide Zotero with data (via embedded metadata). For other sites, Zotero relies on website-specific translators. Zotero works with most library catalogs, several popular websites such as,, and many scientific publisher databases and websites.


Add Item by Identifier

  • In the Desktop Application, you can quickly add items to your library if you already know a unique identifier such as an ISBN, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), or PubMed ID. To add an item via one of these identifiers, click the “Add Item by Identifier” button () at the top of the center column of the Zotero pane, type or paste in the identifier and press Enter.

  • Zotero uses the following databases for looking up item metadata:
    • Library of Congress and WorldCat for ISBNs
    • CrossRef for DOIs
    • NCBI PubMed for PubMed IDs

Capturing Websites

Saving Webpages with the Zotero Connector

  • With the Zotero Connector, you can create an item from any webpage by clicking the save button in your browser's toolbar. If the page isn't recognized by a translator, you'll see a gray page icon:

  • Zotero can also save a copy (or snapshot) of any webpage that will be saved to your computer and added as a attachment to the main bibliographic item. To view the saved copy, double-click the snapshot.

  • Holding down the Shift key while clicking the save button will temporarily toggle the snapshot setting, allowing you to create a Web Page item with no snapshot even if the snapshot preference is enabled, and vice versa.
  • Zotero hosts an informational screencast video showing users this feature from an older version of Zotero.  Flash player is required for this video.
  •  You can also create an item from a webpage by right-clicking the page background and selecting “Save Page to Zotero”.
  • Double-clicking a Web Page item without a snapshot in your library will take you to the original webpage. Double-clicking a Web Page item with a snapshot will display the snapshot instead. You can also visit the original webpage by clicking the ”URL:” label to the left of the URL field in Zotero's right pane.


Manually Entering Items in the Desktop Application

To manually add an item to your Zotero library, click the green “New Item” () button at the top of the center column, and select the desired item type from the drop-down menu (the top level of the menu shows recently created item types; the complete list of item types, minus Web Page, can be found under “More”). An empty item of the selected item type will now appear in the center column. You can then manually enter the item's bibliographic information via the right column.

Note: When you want to create an item for a web page, it is usually easiest to visit the page in your browser and then save it to Zotero. Because of this, Zotero developers removed the Web Page item type from the “New Item” menu. However, you can still create an empty Web Page item by creating an empty item of another type and switching the item type to Web Page via the right-hand column of the Zotero pane.

When you have selected an item in the center column, you can view and edit its bibliographic information via the Info tab of the right column. Most fields can be clicked and edited. Changes are saved automatically as they are made. Some fields have special features, which are discussed on this page.


(You can use these instructions to create new items in the web-view as well!)

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