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Brooks Library Research Guides: Zotero: A powertool for researchers!

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What Zotero can do for you!
Zotero enables you to collect all of your research - PDFs, text files, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and almost anything else digital - into a single portable, searchable, and annotatable, interface.  Your research can be organized however you want to organize it.

Whether you need to create footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, or bibliographies, Zotero can do nearly almost all the drudgery* for you, enabling you to focus on your research and writing (and the Notes feature helps you with that too**). 

Zotero supports thousands of citation formats with more styles added daily.  You can create citations in Word or OpenOffice without ever leaving your word processor, you can add references to an email, a Google Document, or some other editor simply by dragging one or more references out of Zotero (or you can simply copy/paste).

  • Zotero is available as a plug-in for Firefox on both Macs and PCs.  The standalone version of Zotero, which works with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, is available for PCs. 
  • The Zotero plug-in is already installed in Firefox on every computer in the Brooks Library (look in the lower right corner of the browser). 
  • You can create a free Zotero account and synchronize your information with your online storage.  You can also copy your Zotero files from the library computer you were using to a flashdrive or to cloud storage like Google Drive and then copy them into Zotero at home or someplace else.
  • Another option is to download Firefox-Portable on a large flashdrive and install Zotero there (you can only open Firefox-Portable if Firefox is not running on the computer your flashdrive is plugged into).

The documentation for Zotero is probably the best on the web, and most Zotero features are self-evident enough that playing with them is an easy way to learn them. 

If you do have questions about your new powertool I am available by email (gwync@cwu.edu) and in person at the Government Publications Desk on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons.  Here are some documentation links for you:



* Zotero does need your help fixing things like titles that are in 'ALL CAPS', but making sure your citations are perfect is a lot easier to do than making them perfect is.  (Zotero only makes good citations out of good information, Zotero will not detect a misspelling or anything else that was wrong with the citation when you found it.  Proofreading is still a skill you need to use!)

** 1.  Type all of your notes about an article or book into a Note attached to the Zotero entry for that article or book, include all of the quotes you might use, along with their page number, etc.  Repeat with the other books and articles you read.
    2.  Then create a Report by highlighting and right-clicking (ctrl-click in OS X) the items in the Center Column whose notes you would like to use, select “Generate Report from Selected Item(s)…” (you can also right-click a Collection in the Left Column and select “Generate Report from Collection”).
    3.  Use "File > Save Page As" to save the Report - but make sure you change the extension from .htm to .txt before you save it.
    4.  Open the saved Report in Word or Open Office and start editing and expanding your notes into an excellent paper.  (An alternate method for turning your notes into a substantive outline is described at the bottom of this page.)

Subject Specialist
Picture: Christopher Gwyn

Christopher Gwyn
Research Librarian
Tel: (509) 963-2477

Zotero Assistance!
The best ways to reach me are 'in person' and by email.

My email address is gwync@cwu.edu.

My current desk assignment is in Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms on the Third Floor of Brooks Library.  I currently work Monday - Thursday, 5pm-9pm and Friday, 1pm-5pm.

If I am not available please consult the links to your left or speak with one of the talented Reference Librarians in the 'ARC'.

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