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Zotero: Adding references

Adding references

If you can’t find a reference online, you can manually add references to Zotero.

  1. Open Zotero.
  2. Select the New Item icon
  3. Choose the appropriate reference type (book, journal article, etc).

new reference

Once selected, you will be given appropriate fields to fill out. You will need to fill out the minimum information required for your citation style.

When you download Zotero, you will also need to download the Zotero Connector, allowing you to cite from a website. There is a connector available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Click on your connector to start your citation. 

The Zotero Connector icon can be found in the following places:

Chrome - to the right of the address bar

Firefox - in the top right corner of the window

Safari - to the left of the address bar.

The appearance of the connector depends on what Zotero detectors. If multiple references are detected, a folder icon will appear. A book icon will appear if a book is detected and scales when a legal source is detected, and a page for a journal or website. 

After selecting using the connector, you will be asked to save the source. 

Note: Always check the information saved as sometimes Zotero harvests incomplete information, or can't download the PDF.

You can drag and drop a PDF document into Zotero, and the program will add it using the publication details. Not every file will work depending on the data in the file. 

To save records to Zotero from a database:

  1. Mark the records you want to save
  2. Select the Export option in the database
  3. Choose Endnote/RefMan/RIS/Zotero (depending on the database) as the Export option, then Export

uploading files to zotero

  • Quickly add references to Zotero using their ISBN, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), or PubMed ID.
  • To add a reference via one of these identifiers, click the “Add Item by Identifier” button at the top, type or paste in the identifier and select Enter

Add multiple references by identifier with DOI import

You can add multiple references at once using the browser connector's 'Save to Zotero DOI' option, which is great for saving reference lists. Note, this importer will only work from a website, not from a PDF, and will only detect and import references with a DOI.

To save references from a website you must have the Zotero browser connector installed. Instead of clicking the connector icon, right click anywhere on the webpage, select 'Zotero Connector' > 'Save to Zotero' > 'Save to Zotero DOI' option from the menu. If multiple DOIs are detected, a pop up box will appear where you can select which items to import.

You can retrieve full text articles from the Charles Darwin University Library subscriptions by setting up a Library Link.

  1. In Zotero, go to Preferences (Windows: under Edit menu | Mac: under Zotero menu)
  2. Choose the Advanced tab
  3. Under the heading OpenURL, add the following address to the Resolver box:



Once this is set up, select any reference in Zotero and click the locate button (a green arrow) and select: Library Lookup


Library lookup 2


A CDU Library Search window will then appear listing links to items available in the Library database.

Use Zotero bookmarklets to save material

  • From a mobile device,
  • From some browsers that don't have a dedicated browser plug in, or
  • On locked down computers that do not allow you to install software or browser plug ins.

To find out more about bookmarklets, go to the Download Bookmarklet page and follow the instructions. Depending on your browser, you may need to edit the bookmarklet address.

To save material from a mobile device you will need to:

  • Have the bookmarklet saved on your device for the browser you are using
  • Have a online account, and
  • Be signed in to Zotero.

Articles you save from mobile browsers will be added to your Zotero online library and synced to your Zotero standalone program if you have sync enabled.

Need more information?


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.
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