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DIY: Setup Zotero - free open source publication and citation manager

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It lives right where you do your research — in the web browser itself. You can use it to quickly grab and re-use citation from our public library “Soil Electrical Geophysics”.






A personal research assistant!

Zotero is the only research tool that automatically senses content, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click. Whether you're searching for a preprint on, a journal article from JSTOR, a news story from the New York Times, or a book from university’s or public library catalog, Zotero has you covered with support for thousands of sites.

  • Grab your research with a single click.
  • Store it privately or share with collaborators.
  • Select multiple sources and insert formatted reference list in your paper/report while writing it (MS Word plugin).
  • Store anything:

Zotero collects all your research in a single, searchable interface. You can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and really anything else. Zotero automatically indexes the full-text content of your library, enabling you to find exactly what you're looking for with just a few keystrokes.

Zotero works in combination with your web-browser and supports FireFox, Google Chrome or Safari browsers. Since Zotero is open source software it currently DOES NOT support Internet Explorer and probably never will due to  closed code platform of IE. So if you only have EI on your computer the first step will be to download and install another browser. You can choose FireFox or Chrome and follow respective instructions below.


1. Download and install FireFox Browser.

2. Install Zotero 3.0.3 for Firefox (3.5 MB, Firefox extension) Ubuntu Linux users: If Firefox 10 crashes while saving items to Zotero, use the official Mozilla Linux Firefox build. (details)

3. Open FireFox browser and click on Zotero button image in lower right corner. You can use Zotero as a pane below the actual page you are browsing (resizable) or move it to the separate tub.


Also if you use FireFox as a browser, but open Zotero Standalone your references will be sent from FireFox to Zotero Standalone automatically. You can even use all browsers interchangeably and still save all the references in one Master Library, just don’t forget to sign in all of then as the same user.

4. Sign up for Zotero FREE user account. Process is similar as in Zotero Standalone (Google Chrome #4).


Google Chrome:

Zotero Standalone version works in combination with Google Chrome browser.

1. To download Chrome visit and follow instructions for your operating system.

For Windows PC:

To install Chrome for your user account, follow these steps below. Want to install the browser for all the user accounts on your computer? Learn how to install Chrome for multiple user accounts

  1. Download the installer file
  2. If prompted, click "Run" or "Save".
  3. Double-click the installer file to start the installation process. Your home page settings and browser history will automatically be imported from your default browser.
  4. A Chrome window opens once everything is set up. The first time Chrome opens, you'll see a message letting you know that you can search with Google directly from the address bar (also known as the omnibox). If you'd like to change your default search engine, click Change.

    Choose search engine

Having trouble installing or opening Chrome? See troubleshooting information

2. Download  and install Zotero Standalone

Zotero Standalone 3.0.3 for Windows (16.9 MB)
Zotero Standalone 3.0.3 for Mac OS X (33.9 MB)
Zotero Standalone 3.0.3 for Linux (x86) (18.3 MB)
Zotero Standalone 3.0.3 for Linux (x86_64) (20.2 MB)

3. Download and install Zotero Connectors. They will allow you to save items to Zotero from within browsers other than Firefox, using Zotero's site translators.

Zotero Connector 3.0.3 for Google Chrome (179 KB)
Zotero Connector 3.0.3 for Safari (212 KB)

Additionally, Zotero 3.0 for Firefox, available above, will automatically switch into connector mode when Zotero Standalone is opened.

4. Setup new account in Zotero. When you first open Zotero go to Settings “wheel” imagedrop down and visit Sync tab. Create Account link will bring you to a simple registration page where you can setup your username, email and password. It is all that needed! Mark check to Sync automatically and you can install Zotero on multiple computers – your library will always be up to date anywhere. Note, that Zotero servers store and sync all your bibliographic information + your notes on each publication for free, but if you want to attach actual PDF files to your references and store on Zotero public servers, you have free 1 Gb of storage, after that it is paid. I store my attachment files from private library on on local computer, and in addition link to the geophysics sources on Landviser, LLC site in Downloads (Web File Manager) repository (you need to be a registered user). The file attachment process is easily automated with Zotfile plugin (more on that later in the separate blog post).


5. Enjoy Zotero and put it to a good use. Now when you visit bibliography feeds or pages with sources to publications in FireFox or Google Chrome you will see a image folder or imagepaper or imagebook or other source icon in the browser address bar. With one click on that icon you can grab and save bibliographic info to your OWN Zotero library. See for example our library page on website  Soil Electrical Geophysics Library

When you ready to incorporate bibliographic sources to you own publication – install world processors plug-ins. Word Processor Plugins for MS Word and LibreOffice/OpenOffice are bundled with standalone Zotero. More information is available in the Cite pane of the Zotero preferences. Mac users: Word integration requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later. See the compatibility matrix for more details.


Zotero rocks! Don't forget JabRef for BibTex database management!

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Thank you for the link! we will look into JabRef later when we settle in our new collab site. Make sure to subscribe for updates to this site and to our Public Zotero library (which you did) as new references are posted daily.

Larisa Golovko (Pozdnyakova), Ph.D. - President of Landviser, LLC