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CHEN 4520 & 4530 (Belval): Chemical Engineering Design: Writing and Citing

Managing Information with Zotero

Zotero is a citation management tool that organizes your research by storing and managing PDF's, citations, and notes.


Zotero is good for a variety of resources including:

  • books
  • journal articles
  • conference papers
  • government reports
  • patents
  • and more

Use Zotero to:

  • Download citations from many search tools or
  • Click on the browser extension to add the citation information and (when available) download a PDF to your Zotero library.
  • Organize your literature research with folders or tags.
  • Back up citations on your computer and on Zotero's servers.

Zotero is a free, open-source download, available for Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. If you use Firefox, simply download the plugin. If you use Safari or Chrome, download Zotero, and then download the browser connector.

To back up your citations on Zotero's servers and take advantage of group work features, make an account after you download Zotero.

Zotero has a number of self-guided instructions, tutorials, and FAQs

Share Information with Zotero

Setting up a Zotero group will make it easier for you and your teammates to collaborate, share resources, and work efficiently. Groups allow you to pool your literature research, assign readings to each other, and share notes.

  • Create a group on the Zotero web site
    • Give it a name and decide if you would like it to be public, viewable, or private
    • Decide who can add to and edit it
  • Click on the Members settings, and invite your research team
  • Open Zotero (or sync, if you already have it open) and find your group's library in the bottom left pane. It's ready for you and your teammates to start adding content.

Write and Cite with Zotero

Zotero allows you to easily create citations and bibliographies.  Simply drag and drop one or several references from your Zotero library to your document.  Zotero can create citations based on a large number of different citation styles.  

Zotero also has word processor plug-ins that allow you to insert citations as you write and generate bibliographies just for what you've cited. This lets you spend more time on the content, and less time on formatting. Remember like any tool, Zotero is only as good as what it has to work with, so proof your papers to be sure citations and formatting styles are correct. The good news is if you need to change citation styles, or correct a citation once, just do so and refresh the document. Zotero will make the corrections everywhere.

Ask A Gemmill Librarian

Learn more about Citation Managers & Styles