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Referencing Guide: Zotero

Find your referencing style and learn how to reference correctly

What is Zotero?

Zotero logo


Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a personal reference database program and is freely available to download. The main functions of such programs are to:

  • maintain a personal library of references.
  • download references from journal databases and Google Scholar.
  • insert references into word-processed documents.
  • generate a bibliography in the correct style for publication.

If you are only including a few references in your assignment, for example between 1-15, you might find it easier to concentrate on knowing your referencing style rather than using Zotero or another referencing program.

Get Zotero



Adding items

There are various ways by which you can store bibliographic information (e.g., of books, journal articles, and web pages) as items in Zotero. To learn more about storing files (such as PDFs or images), and attaching files to items, click below.

Adding Files and PDFs

In addition to item metadata, notes, and tags, Zotero can also be used for managing files. This page describes the different ways you can add files to your Zotero library, and how added files are stored and synced.

Users new to Zotero may find the prospect of importing all their data somewhat daunting. Zotero can import bibliographic data in a wide variety of formats, but what of PDFs? Many researchers find themselves managing a massive collection of PDFs, possibly with another program designed only for that purpose or through their own methods. Zotero makes it a breeze to import these PDFs, which takes much of the pain out of switching.

RSS Feeds

Feeds are a great way to discover new research. With feeds, you can subscribe to updates from a journal, website, publisher, institution, research group, or other source and quickly find new articles or works. If you find an item in a publication's feed that you want to save and read further, you can add it to your Zotero library with the click of a button.

Citation styles

Zotero ships with several popular citation styles for creating citations and bibliographies, and over 8,100 additional styles can be found in the Zotero style repository. All these styles are written in the Citation style language (CSL), a format also supported by Mendeley, Papers, and many other programs.

Zotero for mobile

The mobile version of allows you to access and edit your Zotero library on your tablet or mobile phone.

The Zotero Bookmarklet allows you to save items from your mobile device's browser directly to your account.

While there are no official Zotero apps for mobile devices, there are several third party solutions.

Help with Zotero

Zotero is freely available for download to both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Library staff do not provide workshops or in-depth support for this software as there are many resources available directly from this guide.

Other Useful Guides on Zotero

Rather than reproduce content and help to assist you in setting up, organising and using Zotero, you might like to review material from other academic libraries. Some good ones are:

University of New England

The University of Melbourne

The University of Adelaide


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