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MUSI5300: Research Techniques: Zotero


Zotero is a free, open source reference and citation management system. Zotero’s features include web browser integration, online syncing, generation of in-text citations, footnotes and bibliographies, an integrated PDF reader and note editor, as well as integration with Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, and Google Docs.

NOTE: You don’t have to create an account with the Zotero platform, but doing so gives you 300 MB of online storage and the ability to synchronize your collections across different browsers and computers.


Zotero was originally created at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and, as of 2021, is developed and maintained by the non-profit Corporation for Digital Scholarship.

This video, created by the George Mason University Libraries, shows you how to download and set up Zotero:

Install and Setup Zotero - Transcript

How to Install and Set Up Zotero

Adding Citations

New citations can be added automatically, with your web browser and the Zotero Connector. They can also be added manually, using the desktop application or web interface. Entering a book’s ISBN or an article’s DOI can automatically populate a new entry with information. PDFs and other documents containing metadata will create new entries when dragged and dropped into you Zotero library.

You can:

  1. Import citation information from databases and library catalogs.
  2. Automatically save web pages.
  3. Retrieve metadata associated with PDF files.
  4. Import citation information from other citation management tools.
  5. Manually enter citation information.
NOTE: Keep in mind that adding PDFs and other files will increase the amount of Zotero cloud storage attached to your account


Add Sources to Zotero - Transcript

How to Add Sources

Word Processor integration

The Zotero plugin creates a special menu within your word processing software to add citations and build reference list bibliographies. When using Google Docs, the Zotero menu appears automatically if the browser connector is installed. Keep in mind that the Zotero desktop application needs to be open and running for the connector to access and embed your citations.

This video demonstrates how to use Zotero with Microsoft Word to create in-text citations and bibliographies:

Word Processor Integration with Zotero - Transcript

Adding Citations and Bibliographies to your Document


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David Williams
William Paterson University
David and Lorraine Cheng Library, Room 215e
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NY 07470-2103

Reference Services

By phone

Call 973-720-2116

The Reference Desk is staffed until 10PM Sunday-Friday and until 5:00pm on Saturday.

By e-mail

Send your question to the Reference Desk via email -

Zotero Online Resources

For additional information, visit the Zotero website, the Zotero Quick Start Guide,, the Zotero help documentation at, and the discussion forums,