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Zotero: Organizing Your Library


Collections help to organize references in the Zotero library. Collections are similar to file folders on a computer; however, references can exist in more than one collection at a time. Collections can be found on the left side of the Zotero library.

  1. Open Zotero
  2. At the top left, there is a button showing a folder with a green plus sign. Click this  button to create a new collection. 
  3. Drag and drop references to the collection in the left sidebar. 

Info, Notes, Tags, and Related

Information that Zotero collects about references can be find on the right side of the library. Bibliographic information, such as author, journal title, page number, etc. can be found in the 'Info' tab. To edit the information of any field, click on it. The only information that can not be changed are 'Date Added' and 'Modified.'

  • Notes- this field can be used to attach notes to reference, such as quotes, summaries, or why this source was choosen.
  • Tags- tagging items with keywords makes it easier to search through the library. Tags are often automatically downloaded from databases and catalogs.
  • Related- link to related items in the collection. This can be useful to manage which sources refer to a certain item.

Library Lookup to Access Full Text

Library Lookup is a Zotero feature that attempts to use the library's link resolver to link to full text of an article through the library. 

The steps to do this are below:

1. In the Zotero desktop app, click on Zotero-->Preferences (Mac) or Edit-->Preferences (PC). Click the 'Advanced' button. 

2. In the OpenURL section, copy and paste the link below into (there should be a default WorldCat URL there), then close the preferences window.


3. Select a reference in the Zotero library, then click on the small green area on the right side of the Zotero window. This will open a menu; select Library Lookup.


You should be passed through the library's authentication process (Entering your e-ID and password maybe required if you are not already logged in with another library resources) and should be linked to the articles.

It may appear that no full text is available for an item. There are a few reason's why this happnes.

  • The library does not have full text acesss to this item (we don't subscribe or our subscription does not cover the publication date of the articles).
  • The citation information provided is incorrect, which happens when citation are imported into Zotero. Fix the citation and try again.
  • The citation information is incomplete.
  • Mistakes happen. The OpenURL resolver does not always work perfectly with our subscription information. If you need help finding something? Ask a Librarian!

Attaching Files and PDF's to Citations

If there is a PDF with an article citation, Zotero will save the PDF along with the citation. If it does not save automatically, check the Zotero Preferences. To attached items in Zotero, changes need to made in the Zotero settings. 

  1. Open Zotero.
  2. Click 'edit' in the top left corner. 
  3. Click on the General pane, indicated by a gear. 
  4. There are a set of options under 'Miscellaneous.' The box next to 'automatically attach associated PDFs and other files when save items' should be check.

PDFs and other files can be attached to citations manually. 

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Find the citation you want to attach the files.
  3. Right-click the file and select 'Add attachment,' select the type of items being attached.
  4. The attachment should be saved to the citation.

Finding Help