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Using Zotero at Princeton

Using Zotero at Princeton

Ways to get references into Zotero

Zotero will automatically detect when you are searching in most databases and provide an address bar icon to easily add citations to your library. Zotero uses a "translator" to detect citations on a page. Unfortunately, translators do not exist for every database with citation information. Additionally, as databases and websites are updated, the translator may become temporarily impared. If you are having problems, you can check Zotero's Known Translator Issues page.

If an address bar icon does not appear for some reason, you can generally use the database's export function to export the citation as an RIS. There are a number of ways to manually create a new citation in Zotero as well.

The rest of the boxes on this page show you to import items to Zotero:

To learn how to import records from other reference tools, see Exporting between Refworks/EndNote/Zotero.

Address Bar Icons

Address Bar Icons: The easiest way to get items into your Zotero library is by using the address bar icons. Zotero's strength is that it recognizes when you are looking at information for a book, article, or other source in Firefox and inserts a "save reference" button right into the address bar. Depending on what type of reference you are looking at the address bar icon will be a book, document, newspaper, etc. To save the citation simply click the icon. If you are looking at a list of references, you may see a folder icon. This icon allows you to select multiple items from the list to save.

 Book Icon in Princeton catalog

Article Icon in database

Folder Icon in Google Scholar


Drag and drop PDF

It is easy to add a PDF to your library, simply open Zotero and drag and drop the PDF into the collection you would like to add it to. If the PDF has been created with Optical Character Recognition, Zotero can retrieve the metadata for the PDF. Either right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) and select Retrieve Metadata for PDF from the drop down menu.

Manually add items

In some cases, such as a reference in print, you may need to manually add a citation to your Zotero library. To add a citation manually, simply click on the plus button and select the type of citation you would like to add. A blank item will be added to the middle column. Click on the item to view the information on the item. Click to enter information in the fields for title, author, publication information etc.

Database Citation Export Tool

There may be times when you are searching in a database and Zotero does not provide a list, book, or article icon to easily import the reference into your library. In this case you can often use the export citation tool provided by the database. Zotero supports MODS, BibTex, RIS, Refer/BibIX, and Dublin Core RDF formats.There are two options for a manual export from a database into Zotero.

1. Go into the Zotero preferences by clicking on the gear icon and selecting preferences. Under the General tab, make sure that "Use Zotero for downloaded RIS/Refer files" is checked. If it is Zotero will automatically add the citation to your library when you click the database's export button.


2. Those using other web based reference tools, such as RefWorks, in conjunction with Zotero may not want exported citations automatically added to Zotero. In this case, leave the "Use Zotero for downloaded RIS/Refer files" unchecked. When using a database's export citation function, save the file. In Zotero, click on the gear icon and select Import. This is also how one would import citations from another citation manager such as RefWorks or EndNote. For more information on importing from other reference managers, click here.

Add Item by ISBN, DOI, or PubMed

If you have an DOI, PubMed ID, or ISBN number it is easy to add the item to Zotero. Simply click on the magic wand icon from the Zotero toolbar and enter the number into the pop up window that appears at the top of your browser.

Saving a Webpage

To save the webpage you are currently visiting to your Zotero Library, click on the icon that looks like a single page. This method saves a snapshot of the webpage you are visiting. This method is best for saving webpages only, and will not import citation information into the Zotero entry, but does create a new Zotero item in which you can enter this manually.


Automatically attach PDFs

Automatically attach PDFs - When PDFs are linked to a citation online, Zotero can automatically grab the pdf when it grabs the citation.

  • Click on the gear icon and select preferences.
  • Under General, be sure that "Automatically attach associated PDFs..." is selected.

Indexing PDF Attachments - Zotero can be used to search the full text of PDFs.

  • Click on the gear icon and select preferences.
  • Under Search, click on the long "Check for Installer" button.

Find it at PUL

The Zotero Locate menu allows you to view attachments or look up a citation. You can set the "Library Lookup" option to search in Princeton University Libraries using the same linking as in the "Find it at PUL" .

  • Click on the gear icon menu and select Preferences.
  • Click on Advanced.
  • Under OpenURL, click "Search for Resolvers"
  • If you are on the Princeton Network, Zotero should detect 3 resolvers. Select the one titled PRINCETON UNIV.