Zotero is free open source reference management software created by George Mason University. It is a community-based project – improvements and updates are made and tested by members. Zotero is not owned by multinational companies, like other referencing software is. It can be integrated with web browsers through plug-ins, and once the plug-in is installed, whenever you use resources such as library catalogues, bibliographic databases (e.g. JSTOR, Google Scholar) or even websites, the full reference information of your results can be saved to your Zotero library. A Word plug-in will insert citations and bibliographies into your essays.
How do I access Zotero?
You can access Zotero from its website. It’s not linked from the library A-Z of e-resources page, as it’s not a resource limited to academic students. Anyone can use Zotero, and you don’t even have to register an account with your university email address, so you can keep your references after you graduate!
First, create an account with Zotero. Then use the ‘download now’ icon on the main page to download the plug-ins for Firefox and Word. It’s recommended you use Firefox, even if you have to install it, since this is the only browser you can use to allow the Word plug-in to work. You’ll also see ‘Zotero’ appear in the bottom right of your browser – use this to open Zotero. When you search the library catalogue or any other electronic resource or website, you’ll notice an icon in the address bar, that will allow you to ‘bookmark’ the references you wish to. These will be saved to your library.
When you write your essay, make sure the Zotero toolbar is available. If not, try Tools>Add Ins or File>Options>Add Ins (depending on which version of Word you have) to select it. When you wish to enter an in-text citation, click the first Zotero tool, ‘Zotero Insert Citation’, then choose your citation style. Click on the ‘Z’ icon and choose ‘classic view’ to show your entire library. Choose the item you want to cite. Repeat this throughout your essay. To create a bibliography, choose the third Zotero tool, ‘Zotero Insert Bibliography’, which will create a bibliography for all the citations you’ve used, in the correct citation style.
More documentation about using Zotero is available on their website, or please contact Kevin Wilson, subject librarian for Media, Computing and IMS, for more help using Zotero.