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Library and Learning Services

Zotero: Saving References

Reference management application designed to store and manage references.

Saving citations

Zotero Icon


Whenever you are browsing the web or searching in one of the library databases, the Zotero Connector you installed in your browser will automatically detect the type of source you're looking at. For example, for journal articles, the Zotero Connector icon changes into a typed sheet of paper.

To add the reference into your Zotero library, simply click on the Zotero Connector icon in your browser. A dialog box will pop up in the bottom right corner of your screen, letting you know

  1. what library you are saving it to,
  2. the name of the reference, and
  3. whether or not it has grabbed the PDF full text.

To save to a folder or different library in your application, go to that folder in the desktop version and then save the reference.

Note that Zotero will only download PDFs if they are in the database you are currently in.

Please note: JSTOR only saves PDFs after manually click o.k. to the terms and conditions in the session.

Folder Icon


When you are using Google Scholar, Discovery or the results list of a database, the Zotero Connector icon will change into a folder, indicating that there is more than one reference on the page.

Folder Pop Up


To save more than one reference from a page, click the folder icon and select which references you want to save. If the full text for those references is available within that database, it will download those files.

RIS Export

ProQuest Export

If you are importing large items from scholarly databases (e.g., if you are conducting a systematic review), databases such as Google Scholar or ProQuest may lock you out if you use the Zotero save button too frequently or add too many items at once. In such cases, it is better to export the items as a batch in one of the standardized formats such as RIS and import this file into Zotero. In ProQuest, you will need to click the "Save" icon to export the reference. This option is also available in the Results list, where you can select more than one item at a time.

JSTOR Export

In JSTOR, you can either select multiple items and directly export them from the results list, or you can click the "Cite This Item" button, which brings up the export menu for that reference.


In Expanded Academic ASAP, to export your reference information in a RIS format, you need to click on "Citation Tools" and select   "Reference Manager" from the "Export To" menu.


In Discovery, to export the citation in a RIS format, click on the "Cite" button and choose "Export to RIS".  

Getting references from websites

Any time you are on a web page which you'd like to save to Zotero, just click the Zotero Connector button in your browser's toolbar library. In the Zotero library you will see that this web page has been added to your list of items.

When you click the Zotero ​Connector button, it doesn't just save the reference details of the web page. It also saves a copy, or "snapshot," of the web page as it appears at that moment. This copy is stored on your computer and, optionally, in your Zotero online account. That means you will always have the copy of the page when you did your research.

 a web page as a reference 
 Zotero library,  
 Zotero reference 
 may not appear

 Zotero intentionally obscures the option to manually reference a web page. This is because it is easier and more powerful to reference a web page using the Zotero Connector browser plugin. However, it is possible to manually add a web page referenceFirst, you will need to manually create a reference for some other type of item. Then, in the right pane, choose "Web page" from the "Item Type" field:



Manual Entry

It is easy to use the Zotero Connector browser plugin to automatically save references as you go along. But sometimes you will want or need to save references manually: 

  • if you have a couple of sources and didn't add them to Zotero when you found them, it is often faster to type them in than it is to track each one down in a database just to automatically save them.
  • You might have an item that can't be found online in a way that it can be saved into Zotero.
  • You want more control over what goes into each field.

To add references manually, click the green plus "New Item" button and select the item type.


Now, in the right pane, enter the details of the source:

The "New Item" menu shows a few common types of references. If you mouse over the "More" submenu, you get a list of almost all the types of items Zotero supports. To manually enter web page reference see the section "Getting references from websites".

Adding items by ISBN

Do you have the book in front of you and want to add it to your Zotero library without having to search for a citation?

If you have a book's ISBN or an online article's DOI, just click on "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.