Zotero is a free and open source reference management software package produced by an independent, non-profit organisation. It has many of the same features as other such packages.
Zotero is both an online and desktop application. You can use the online version anywhere, while the desktop version can be installed on a Windows, Mac or Linux computer.
You can choose to use either the online version or the desktop version, or both together.
Desktop vs online
With Zotero desktop, your storage space for references and documents (e.g. PDFs) is effectively unlimited.
The free online version of Zotero also provides you with unlimited storage for references. However, it only comes with 300MB of cloud storage for documents such as PDFs. If you need more storage space you can opt to pay for a premium plan.
Using Zotero rather than EndNote
EndNote is fully supported and free to staff and students at the University of Bristol. The versions we subscribe to grant additional functionality and workflows that should meet most needs. As such, we recommend the use of EndNote.
Questions to consider when choosing which to use include: will it provide me with enough storage space? If not, am I willing to pay for more? And is it compatible with the operating system I use?
Finally, remember that references can be moved between Zotero and EndNote, so it's not a problem if you change your mind.
New to Zotero? This quick guide will give you an overview of Zotero's central features and how to install it.
Getting started with Zotero
Use the links in the dropdowns below to get started with Zotero, and find any help you might need.
Follow the instructions below to create an account and access Zotero online:
- Go to Zotero.org then click on 'Log in' on the top right corner of the page.
- Select 'Register for a free account' and follow the onscreen instructions to create a Zotero account.
- Once you have done this, Zotero will send you an email message asking you to authenticate. Click on this link and authenticate.
- Zotero allows you to register multiple email addresses (under Settings/Account).
Once you have created an account, you can also download the desktop version. There are two parts to download in order to access all the functionality Zotero offers:
- The desktop application, which should also install the MS Word Plugin.
- The browser plugin, Zotero Connector, which allows you to quickly grab references from websites.
The following links will provide you with extensive guidance and online support:
While the majority of our training sessions are for EndNote, we do hold occasional Zotero sessions to assist those students and members of staff who use it.
Please check our list of upcoming events.
For further help with Zotero please contact your subject librarian, who you can find listed by subject here.
This video tutorial is a useful guide to Zotero's features, and how to integrate it into your workflow.