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Literature Reviews for Education: Zotero

What is Zotero? Why use a citation manager?

Zotero is a free citation manager, a research tool available to download for Mac, Windows, Linux, and iOS. 

What is a citation manager or citation management software? It can help you track and organize your resources and generate in-text citations and bibliographies. You might find a citation manager helpful if you don't currently have a system to collect and organize the papers you read. 

For example, you can use a citation manager through your entire literature review process to: 

  • Import and save citation + full-text file directly from your web browser
  • Organize your resources into collections, folders, or using tags (for class readings, for papers you're writing)
  • Annotate directly in that file and quickly export annotations into your paper for cited in-text quotations
  • Cloud sync all of this citation information + associated files, for access across multiple devices
  • Export all of your citations into your paper in APA or your chosen style format
    • ... or embed citations directly into your Word or Google Docs file as you write!

There are many citation managers available - a few free options are Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote. Which option will work best for you? Learn more about the features of each citation manager below. Some citation managers have a paid version that offers more storage or additional features. 

I recommend Zotero because it's free, has a large community of support online, and librarians here at CU have Zotero expertise, but Zotero may not be right for you. Choose the citation management software that works best for you, even if that's no citation management software. 

Comparing Citation Managers

Zotero Tips and Tricks

Need help with Zotero?

For more help with setup, to troubleshoot issues, or to learn about the advanced features of Zotero, reach out!

Book an appointment or email me at