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Zotero: Saving References

Saving References to Your Zotero Library

Watch this video from Georgia State University about how to save references to your Zotero library. For more detail on importing references, uploading files, and organizing your library, check out the content on the rest of this page. 

Collecting References: Books and Articles

Zotero provides the ability to save references from most library catalogs (including Murphy Library's) and databases, and even some regular web pages, with one click. (Zotero publishes a list of compatible sites, and many sites not on this list also work.) If Zotero detects that you're looking at a book or article on a catalog, database, or a site like, LibraryThing or the New York Times, you'll see a book or page icon appear in the address bar of your browser. Just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation to your Zotero Library.

Zotero Library Catalog Connector


Once Zotero has saved a record to your online library, you'll be able to view all the bibliographic information needed to create a citation in a style of your choosing.

Record imported from library catalog

Collecting References: Other Web Sites

Other Web Sites 

Importing a website into Zotero


Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from some web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library.

Once you've imported a website into Zotero, click on any of the empty fields to add missing bibliographic information. 

Website record in zotero

You may also want to attach a copy of the webpage to its Zotero record. Doing this, saves a copy of the page to your computer. It includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.

Right click on the record in your Zotero library and select "Adobe Acrobat" > "Convert Webpage to Adobe PDF." Doing this will create a local PDF file that you can attach to your Zotero record.

Saving a webpage as a PDF in zotero

Attaching Files

It's easy to attach files (like PDFs) to items in your Zotero library.  Just drag the file into your Zotero pane.  Dropping a file onto a collection, or in between library items, will copy it into your library as a standalone item.  Dropping it onto an existing item will attach it to that item.  This is the easiest way to attach a copy of an article to its entry in your library.

Each item also has an Attachments tab in the right column.  You can attach files by clicking the Attachments tab and then the Add button.

Attaching a file in Zotero

Organizing Your Library

In Zotero, you can organize your references into collections. To do so, click the "+" sign next to My Library and name your new collection. Once you've created a collection, you can either import references directly or drag and drop items from your main My Library collection.

Creating collections and adding descriptive tags helps to organize your references. Collections are like file folders on your computer, but a reference can be in more than one collection at a time. In other words, a book on the Civil War could be filed in your "Civil War" collection, your "Wisconsin History" collection and your "19th Century America" collection without having to make three copies of the reference. 

Organizing your Zotero Library