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Zotero is a reference manager that allows you to not only manage your references but also your texts, files, web pages, etc. These references can then be used for citations and creating a reference list.

Choosing a citation manager

Next to Zotero, RefWorks and Mendeley are available as citation managers. See the overview of pros and cons for each of these tools.

Using Zotero

Zotero consists of the Zotero library, a browser extension, and a Word plug-in. Make sure Words is closed. UvA staff can install Zotero at their workspace by going to Start > the tile Software Center at the richt side of the screen. Simply use the Zotero website to install the program at home or on your laptop. The Zotero browser extensions is called Zotero Connector and it allows you to import references from catalogues, databases, and webpages. Use Zotero’s website to install the appropriate Connector for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

Always have access to your Zotero library

A Zotero account not only allows you to use the library via the Zotero website but, more importantly, by synchronising the library you can access it from any computer. Furthermore, Zotero provides the option of joining / creating a group for the purpose of easily sharing references. When using both the web- and desktop-version it is advised to configure the desktop-version so that it automatically synchronises with the web-version. You can set this up by going to the desktop-version of Zotero > Preferences.

Collating references and files

The Zotero library has to be active in order to collate references and files. The Zotero Connector, indicated by a small icon in the browser, allows you to upload references from catalogues, databases, etc. to your library. A few databases (e.g., EBSCO, ProQuest, Project MUSE) allow the full text to be imported.

If the document has a unique code (ISBN for books or Digital Object Identifier for electronic publications) then go to the Zotero menu bar and click ‘Add item(s) by identifier’.

Zotero provides the option to drag files from the File Explorer to your Library and then have Zotero look-up the corresponding references.

Organise your references and files in Collections. You can also create Sub-Collections. If you want to move a reference to a Collection you must drag it there.

The storage space for files is limited at 300 MB. If necessary change the settings in Preferences to prohibit full texts from synchronising.

Working together

Group Libraries allows you to share your Collections with others. You create a new group via Zotero’s website > Create a New Group. You can also join existing groups. There are private groups, public groups with private membership, and public groups with public membership.

You can work together on a document that contains Zotero references. Others are able to import references from your document into their own Zotero library and they are able to add references to your document.

Zotero and writing

The following word processors are compatible with Zotero: Word for Windows (excluding 2010 Starter Edition), Word for Mac (excluding 2015), Google Docs and LibreOffice from version 5.2 onwards. If you installed Zotero on your own computer then the tab will automatically appear in your word processor. When using a UvA computer you can access the plug-in tab by going to Zotero > Preferences > Cite > Word Processors > Reinstall Microsoft Word add-in. The tab allows you to import citations and create a reference list from your Zotero Library. The Zotero tab is available in Google Docs after you installed the Chrome or Firefox Connector.

Zotero accommodates a number of citation styles. If necessary, however, you can add a style via Library > Preferences > Cite.

Data privacy

The data you collect in Zotero are literature references,  references to web pages  and publications. These are not confidential or only to a small extent. These are only accessible for yourself and for those whom you select yourself in case you collaborate in a group.

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