moodLearning Wiki

Reference Management

This page is about reference management using Zotero. A shortcut to this page:


_ For your desktop or laptop, install Zotero to build your collection as well as manage your references and digital resources. Steps:

  • Install the appropriate browser connector (see bottom of the Zotero download page).

Zotero enables you to automatically populate a bibliographic entry by searching external databases (or by entering an ISBN, PMID, or DOI), thus avoiding the tedious job of manually typing or cutting-and-pasting information. Here's where you'll put in the ISBN, PMID or DOI info:


Zotero also parses the metadata from a pdf file by simply dragging a file to the Title column of your collection.

Another particularly nifty functionality of Zotero is the integration of Unpaywall. Everytime you save a journal entry from a site with paid subscription, Zotero can look for a legally free version of the same article using the Unpaywall database. Or, if you already have a journal entry with no attached pdf copy, you may right click on it and “Find Available PDF” will present itself as one of the options.

Recommended: If you're only starting with Zotero, test it well using entries for diverse source or media types.

Tip: organize collection by “libraries” for easy export to other repositories or for back-up or sharing with other researchers.


Once Zotero is installed in your desktop or laptop and you've familiarized yourself with it well, consider syncing your data or files with a remote repository like your own WebDAV server. You can configure this under Preferences. _

If you've installed Zotero on different computers, this setup enables you to harmonize your collection. Make sure pressing “Verify Server” gets you a positive response.

Another option for syncing resources is via, especially if you don't have sizable data or files. also allows you to form groups for sharing, editing references, and maintaining group libraries. Consider setting your group as private if you're concerned about privacy.

Backup and Export

Syncing already provides you with automatic backup. Manual backup can also be done by exporting your collection or library to some other storage media. “Export Library” (click File | Export Library) provides options to tranform your collection into different reference formats and schemas.

Publishing Entries on Eprints

Once a collection is exported, it can be imported and published via Eprints (or any other repository for that matter). The recommended format in this case is BibTeX. Here's a sample screencast:

See more uses: zotero-user-tips

See Also