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Zotero is a free, easy to use software that helps you save, manage, and cite research sources.

Adding, Indexing, and Renaming PDFs

It's easy to add PDFs to your Zotero library and automatically import their citation info.

First, enable PDF indexing on the Search tab of Zotero's preferences. Zotero will download and install a small plugin.

Next, just drag your PDF files into the Zotero pane, or select "Store Copy of File" under the New Item menu ( Add Item button ).

Right-click the PDFs and choose "Retrieve Metadata for PDFs."  Zotero will retrieve their citation data from Google Scholar and turn them into citable items with PDF attachments.

If Zotero can't find a match on Google Scholar, don't worry -- you can still save the citation from another catalog or article database, then drag the PDF onto the citation to make it an attachment, or select "Create Parent Item" and input the metadata manually.

Right click on any PDF attachment on an existing Zotero item and select "Rename File from Parent Metadata" to clean up the filename.

Animated GIF demonstrating retrieval of metadata for a PDF saved to Zotero

WFU Full Text and Zotero

Zotero's OpenURL settingsYou've probably seen the WFU Full Text Options button in some article databases that allows you to locate the full text of an article online. Zotero allows you to use the same feature for accessing full text straight from your library.

To set up Zotero to access the WFU Full Text Options server, click the gear button on the Zotero toolbar and choose Preferences. At the bottom of the "Advanced" tab in Preferences, paste this url into the "Resolver" box:

Then click OK. Once you've set this up, you can click the "Library Lookup" feature in the Locate menu ( Zotero's Locate Menu button, which looks like a small green arrow pointing to the right on any citation you're viewing to search for the item online.

Adding Items by ISBN

If you have a physical book or hard copy of a journal article, adding it to your Zotero library is easy. 

If you have a book's ISBN, an online article's DOI or PMID number, just click the "Add Item by Identifier" button (Add item by identifier button, which looks like a magic wand ). 

Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.

Zotero & Endnote

It's easy to use EndNote and Zotero together and take advantage of the best features of each, or to share Zotero libraries with colleagues using EndNote or vice versa. Both programs can read and write a standard citation file format called RIS, which means references can be converted back and forth with a few clicks.

PDFs and other attachments do not export between programs, however; only citation information.

Zotero to EndNote

To save your Zotero library for importing into EndNote, click the Zotero button that looks like a gear and choose "Export Library." Choose RIS as the file type and pick a filename.

In EndNote, click "File" and then "Import." Click the "Choose File" button and select the file you just exported from Zotero. Set Import Option to "Reference Manager (RIS)" and click Import.

Image showing the Import menu in ZoteroEndNote to Zotero

To export your EndNote library for use in Zotero, click "File" and then "Export." Set the output style to "RefMan (RIS) Export" and save it as a text file.

In Zotero, click the button that looks like a gear and choose "Import." Just double-click the file you exported from EndNote. The new references will be added to a collection named "Imported" followed by the date and time.

Subject Guide

Kyle Denlinger
302 ZSR Library

Credit & License

Creative Commons License
Except where noted, material in this guide is borrowed or modified from material originally created by Jason Puckett licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. The original guide can be found here.