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Waidner-Spahr Library

Citing Sources: Zotero

Migrating from RefWorks to Zotero

Dickinson College will no longer be providing access to or supporting RefWorks after March 31, 2020. If you are a current RefWorks user, you will need to export your reference library and any uploaded files prior to March 31. As a replacement, we recommend Zotero, a free and open-source reference manager.

zotero logo

What is Zotero?

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is an open-source tool which allows you to collect, organize, cite, and share research sources easily, using a web browser extension along with a stand-alone program on your computer. Developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Zotero is open-source, and thus completely free.

How Does Zotero Work?

Zotero button

Zotero's web extension adds a button to your browser's address bar, allowing you to save resources to your Zotero collection. Zotero captures metadata from any given resource, and can also save files such as full-text PDFs directly from a library database.

Zotero also allows you to take notes on each saved source directly within the program, and to organize sources using tags and folders.

Integration with Microsoft Word allows you to cite your sources in any of Zotero's supported citation styles.

Migration Instructions

Follow the instructions below to export your library and uploaded files to Zotero. If you have any questions or would like assistance with this process, please contact your library liaison or use the general library email at https://dickinson.libanswers.com/

  1. Export your library from within RefWorks to RIS format. Please note that any folders you have created will not be saved. If you have references in folders that you wish to maintain, the best solution is to export the references from individual folders as separate RIS files, which you can then import into Zotero and add to a new Collection (the Zotero name for folders) as a group (see step 4 below). Otherwise, you will have to manually assign all of your references to Collections in Zotero. If you get an error when trying to export your references, please contact a librarian for assistance. 

    First, click on the "Share" menu. 


    Then, select "Export references." 
    RefWorks export

    Finally, select the references you wish to export, and select "RIS format." Then click "Export." 
  2. RefWorks export menu
     
  3. If you have uploaded PDFs or other documents to individual records, you will need to export them separately by enabling the Dropbox sync from the Settings menu. For instructions on creating a Dropbox account, click here. Please note that any annotations, highlighting, or comments you have added to the PDFs within RefWorks will not be saved. 

    Open the "Settings" menu by clicking on your name in the upper right. 
    Refworks settings menu

    Then set up the Dropbox sync partway down the page. 
    refworks dropbox sync menu
     
  4. Install Zotero. See our Zotero guide for instructions on installing and using Zotero. If you are using a Dickinson computer, you may need to submit a HelpDesk request to have Zotero installed. 
  5. Import your saved RIS file(s) from RefWorks into Zotero. 

    First, open the File > Import menu. 
    zotero import menu

    Make sure the option including RIS format is selected, and click "Continue." Next, select the RIS file you exported from the File Explorer (Windows) / Finder (Mac OS) window that pops up. 
    Zotero import options

    Finally, you can select the checkbox at the top to create a new collection with the imported references. Do this if you want them to have their own folder. The "File Handling" section will be discussed in step 6, below, and is not relevant at this stage. 
     zotero import menu
     
  6. If you would like your PDFs or other files to be accessible and searchable from within Zotero, you will have to manually add your PDFs from your Dropbox folder to the new records in Zotero. You can do this by clicking and dragging a file on to a specific record, or by right clicking the record, selecting "Add Attachment," then selecting "Attach Stored Copy of File." This will copy the files to the Zotero data directory on your computer, and will also copy them to any other computer you have installed Zotero on once you enable the web sync feature. 

    Alternatively, you can link to files stored in the cloud, for instance OneDrive or Dropbox. If you do this, you can still sync your references between multiple computers, but the linked files will live in the cloud in only one location. This option is preferable if you want to be able to easily access your PDFs in the cloud from any computer or read and annotate them on a tablet or other mobile device. Please see this page for information on how to do this, or ask a librarian. 

    zotero attach file menu
     
  7. Any PDFs you add to your references in Zotero will be indexed so they are full-text searchable (as in RefWorks). You can customize this behavior under Preferences > Search. Word documents or other files will be searchable by title, but not full-text searchable. 

    Make sure to set the search options to "Everything" if you wish to search the full text of PDFs, by clicking on the downward facing triangle to the left of the search box. 
    zotero search options
     
  8. Finally, you can also import PDFs directly into Zotero. To do this, drag your PDFs into the Zotero window, and Zotero will look up their metadata and create bibliographic records for each PDF. Click here to read more information about this process. Please note that the metadata found through this process is not always as high quality as that available when importing references from a database. 
     
  9. To convert an existing Microsoft Word document created with RefWorks to Zotero, please follow the instructions below. 

Introduction to Zotero

zotero logo

What is Zotero?

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is an open-source tool which allows you to collect, organize, cite, and share research sources easily, using a web browser extension along with a stand-alone program on your computer. Developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Zotero is open-source, and thus completely free.

How Does Zotero Work?

Zotero button

Zotero's web extension adds a button to your browser's address bar, allowing you to save resources to your Zotero collection. Zotero captures metadata from any given resource, and can also save files such as full-text PDFs directly from a library database.

Zotero also allows you to take notes on each saved source directly within the program, and to organize sources using tags and folders.

Installing Zotero

To begin using Zotero, download the application here. You will also want to download the appropriate Zotero Connector browser plugin for the browser you prefer. For more information, see Zotero's installation instructions.

Zotero doesn’t require you to create an account. You can directly import sources into Zotero, and they are ready to use for citations and bibliographies.

Integration with Microsoft Word allows you to cite your sources in any of Zotero's supported citation styles.

Getting Started with Zotero

Adding Sources to Zotero

The distinguishing feature of Zotero is that the Zotero Connector browser plugin allows you to instantaneously collect sources as you do research online. For Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, if you click on the Zotero icon next to your search bar, the source or web page will be automatically saved with its bibliographic information.

zotero import

 

 

 

Another method for adding items to your Zotero library is searching by the ISBN, DOI, or PubMed ID of your sources. In Zotero, click on the “Add item by Identifier”  tool in the top bar and enter the information.

You can also manually enter an item by choosing the “New Item”  tool and select the appropriate type of document (book, journal, newspaper, etc.) Add bibliographic information using the empty panel on the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more detail on adding sources to Zotero, visit Zotero’s documentation or watch the following video:

Organizing Your Library and Taking Notes

Zotero’s “Collection” feature allows users to easily organize their sources into groups and subgroups for different purposes. Items can be directly imported into the groups, or added after they are already in the library. To create a collection, click on the “New Collection” tool and enter your chosen title. The new collection will appear under “My library.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To create a sub-collection, right-click on the specific collection, and a toolbox will appear. You can choose “New Subcollection” and add its title like above. With the same toolbox, you can rename and delete collections as you wish. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When directly importing online sources to a collection, you can choose the collection prior to saving.

Zotero also has the “Tags” feature which helps you specifically characterize items based on different criteria like topics, main ideas, etc. To add tags, click on the specific item, and the toolbox will appear on the right. Choose the “Tags” option in the top bar, then click “Add.”

Afterwards, you can use the “Advanced Search”   tool and choose “Tag” to search for a particular tag and the embedded source.

For more information on collections and tags, visit Zotero’s Collections and Tags.

Additionally, you can take notes on an item or general notes in Zotero. To add notes to a particular source, click on the source then choose the “New Note” tool in the top bar. Then choose “Add Child Note” to open a text box where you can type in your note.

For more information, visit Zotero’s Notes.

Creating Bibliographies

Creating Bibliographies

To generate a bibliography using Zotero, you can simply right-click on the selected source, and choose “Create Bibliography for Item.” Additionally, you can hold “Shift” on your keyboard to select multiple sources at a time and create a full bibliography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can choose among the various citation styles offered in the “Create Citation/Bibliography” box or search for other styles using the “Manage Style” option.

 

The final step is to choose the “Output method” you wish, either as RTF, HTML, or as a copy to the Clipboard that can be directly pasted in your documents. For more information, visit Zotero’s Creating Bibliography .

Zotero Integration with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and LibreOffice

In addition to tools within Zotero to create bibliographies, Zotero can be integrated with the following word processors: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and the open-source option LibreOffice. To do this, you must install a plugin for your word processor. You can do this from within the Zotero Standalone application by selecting the Tools menu, then Add-ons, and installing the appropriate plugin for your word processor and operating system. If you are using Google Docs, you do not need to install a separate plugin, as the browser Connector for Firefox or Google Chrome takes care of this integration for you.

Inserting Citations

For example, once you have successfully installed the Zotero plugin in Microsoft Word, you can directly insert citations from Zotero into your document. Click on “Zotero” in the Menu Bar of the Word Document and then “Add/Edit Citation.”

Choose the style of citation you wish or click on “Manage Styles” to custom your own set of citation styles.

 

You can choose “Get additional styles” if your preferred citation is not already listed, or remove styles you don’t normally use by choosing the style you wish to delete and click the minus (-) box.

 

Once you have selected your citation style, you can type in the author’s name to find the original source, and click “Enter” to insert a Zotero citation. To further edit your citation like adding page number or suppress author’s name, click on the original citation in the Zotero bar. You can also create a compounded citation containing multiple sources by adding the subsequent sources in the same Zotero bar.

If you need to change your citation style afterwards, you can always choose “Document Preferences” in the top bar.

 

Creating Bibliographies

Once you have added Zotero citations into your document, you can create a bibliography. Move to the end of your document and type the heading on a new page (“References,” “Bibliography,” “Works Cited,” etc.). Zotero will not automatically generate the heading. Then select “Add/Edit Bibliography.”

Zotero will create a bibliography out of the existing Zotero citations.

If you want to edit your bibliography by adding sources not cited in the text or excluding a source, you can click on “Add/Edit Bibliography” again.

Note: In case there are any problems with the information presented in the citation, such as author, date, or publication, please correct the Zotero record itself to prevent future repetition of the mistake. Open Zotero and choose the document you want to modify. The “Info” box will appear on the right, and you can click on any elements listed to edit them.

For more information or help on how to use word processor integration with Zotero, visit Zotero's word processor usage guide.

Support for Zotero

For help using Zotero, you can use Zotero's copious online documentation. Of special importance are the following pages:

Ask a Librarian

Librarians: ask@dickinson.libanswers.com
Text us: 717-366-6623
Liaison Librarians by Department

Circulation desk: 717-245-1397