This guide will give you an overview of the citation manager Zotero


Because Zotero is open-source software, many users have created various plugins to enhance the software that are free to use. These plugins can improve the interface, provide new visualization tools, integrate with LaTex/BibTex, and more!

PDF Indexing and Metadata

Just like you can search your Zotero library through title, author, or other fields in your references, you can also make your PDFs searchable!

To index your PDFs, go to your Preferences menu and select the "Search" tab. There will be a "PDF Indexing" section, and you just need to install those plugins. You can then "Rebuild Index" in the "Full-Text Cache" section. Once this is enabled, not only can you search your references, you can also search the full text of any PDFs in your library or linked to it!

When you search, the PDF or any other attachment in your library will be bold if it contains your search terms, even if the reference data does not!

You can also drag and drop PDF files into your library and "Retrieve Metadata" for them from Google Scholar. Note that this only works if the PDF has OCRd text and is not just a scanned page.

To retrieve metadata, right click on the PDF in your library and click the green puzzle piece that says "Retrieve Metadata for PDF."

If Zotero can't find a match on Google Scholar, don't worry -- you can still save the citation from another catalog or article database, then drag the PDF onto the citation to make it an attachment.

Advanced Formatting

If you are writing a lengthy document, such as a book or dissertation, you might need or want to do more advanced formatting for your bibliography. If you do not want to use the below methods, use the drag/drop feature for bibliographies and the "Create Bibliography for Item" with Citations checked for in-text citations.

Separate Files

One recommended mode of writing longer documents is to have a separate Word document for each chapter or section. When using this method, you can combine your documents together using the Master Document function in Word. You can find this function in the View tab after you click "Outline." From here, insert each document into the master document.

Chapter Bibliographies

If each chapter needs its own reference list, simply use Zotero as you normally would and use the Master Document method. If you make changes to any of the separate chapter files, those changes will be reflected in Master Document automatically!

Final Bibliography

If you only need one reference list at the very end, use Zotero for in-text citations only in each separate chapter document. Then use the Master Document method and add the bibliography for the whole document in the desired location. Again, if you make changes to the original documents, those changes will be reflected in the Master Document, and you just need to use the Refresh option in the Zotero tab.


One File

If you are only using one file when writing, such as the sectioned Thesis or Dissertations templates, it can be a bit trickier.

Chapter Bibliographies

If you need unique bibliographies for each chapter or section within your document, you have a few options. The easiest is probably to drag and drop your bibliography at the end of each chapter; just make sure you're keeping track of what citations you used! This allows you to still use Zotero for the in-text citations to both add and edit your in-text citations. The second method is to only write one section at a time, generate the bibliography, and then click the Unlink Citations in the Zotero tab. You will then repeat this process for each section. Note that once you have unlinked citations, they are no longer connected to Zotero and cannot be linked again. If you need to edit a citation that you have linked, either change what you need to change within the document, or select the citation text you want to change, click the Add/Edit Citation button, and re-select any citations you used or want to add. You can then select the entire bibliography section and click Add/Edit Bibliography, which will generate a bibliography based on the citations. If you have linked Zotero citations in other sections of your document, they will appear in the generated bibliography, so make sure the only linked citations are in the current section.

Final Bibliography

Use Zotero as normal.

Setting Up Full-Text Access

You've probably seen the Find It button in some Marriott Library research databases.  This button allows you to locate the full text of an article online. Zotero allows you to use the same feature.

To set up Zotero to Find It, go into your Preferences and click the "Advanced" tab. In the "OpenURL" section, click the "Search for resolvers" button. It will let you know that 2 resolvers are available. Select the "University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library" option.

Then click OK. Once this resolver is saved in your Zotero preferences, Zotero Lookupyou can click the Locate button on any citation you're viewing to search for the item online.

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