Zotero is citation management software that is enhanced by its active community of users and developers. You can easily add research to the standalone program to read, annotate and organize for future use. Its single-click capture works with more databases, catalogs, and websites than Mendeley, and Zotero can properly cite government documents. Plugins developed by its users add customization options. You can also collaborate with other researchers who use Zotero - without limitations on private groups. Finally, Zotero is accessible to screen readers and additional accessibility features can be added to it.
Zotero is the most accessible of the two free citation management software recommended by PSU. The Zotero standalone desktop application is accessible with screen reader program. There are also additional plugins that allow Zotero to have custom keyboard commands and additional screen reader accessibility. Discussions about accessibility features, appropriate plugins and other support is available in the Zotero discussion forums.
Zotero is a free program until you have used 300 MB of cloud storage (approximately 100 PDFs). Different pricing plans for your storage needs are available once the storage has been exceeded. Plans range from $20/year for 2 GB storage up to $120/year for unlimited storage. More information about paying for additional storage can be found on Zotero's storage plans page.
There are several ways you can install Zotero. Please note that you can only install the web extensions on the PSU lab computers.
You can add items to your Zotero library by using the web extension, bookmarklet, or even by manually adding citations and files. For more information, visit the Zotero website.
An image of the Zotero web extension adding a citation is pictured below.
If there are multiple search results to choose from, the Zotero icon will change from a single page to a folder. Clicking the folder icon lets you then choose from a list of articles to import, which is shown in the image below.
The image below shows the bookmarklet in action. More information can be found at the Zotero bookmarklet page.
Sync your citations to your Zotero account so that your citations and added content follow you no matter where you use Zotero. Do this by clicking the “Sync” icon in the top right corner of the desktop application (pictured here: ) or by setting up your preferences to make Zotero automatically sync your citations.
The image below shows how to set Zotero to automatically sync your citations in the Zotero desktop application. First, click the gear symbol in your Zotero desktop application, then scroll down to "Preferences." Click the "Sync" icon to set up account syncing; type in your username and password. You can avoid exceeding the 300 MB storage limit (about 100 articles) by de-selecting the option to "sync full-text content."; This will make it so that all of your citations, notes and URLs upload to Zotero while large files stay on your computer.
You can use Zotero to organize your references with "Collections" and "Tags."
The image below shows an example library organized using Zotero's collections.
The image below shows you an example of citations viewed via selected tags.
More information can be found at the Zotero website.
Zotero allows you to highlight and annotate PDFs, to pull metadata and citation information from databases and PDFs, to add your own notes and tags to research articles, and to sort and export your research. For more information about Zotero’s PDF features, visit their support page. Additional PDF features can be added to Zotero through 3rd party plugins, including the ability to extract only text that you annotated for future reading.
Word processor plugins are available for Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and NeoOffice. Google Docs is supported via the browser extensions in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. These allow you to easily insert in-text citations while automatically updating your bibliography. Any updates you make in Zotero to your citations or citation style will automatically be applied to any citations in your paper.
Other word processors will work with your Zotero citations, with some limitations. Use Zotero to create a static citation. You can paste the copied citation into Google Docs or other word processors. Citations copied in this manner are static (and not dynamic), meaning that any changes made to the citation in Zotero will not be reflected to the citation copied in your document.
More information about these plugins, including guides on installing and using them, are available on the Zotero website.
Zotero users may share citations using "groups" which can be explored on the Zotero website.
Zotero has an active community that creates 3rd party plugins. These include keyboard shortcut features, Google Scholar functionality, and other tools. The plugins listed below add features for general ease of use and accessibility.
For more information about plugins for Zotero, visit their support page about plugins.