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Zotero: A Beginner's Guide: Home

Important Note

Zotero's newest version, Zotero 5.0, no longer offers an option for the Firefox vs. Desktop versions.  Moving forward Zotero will only offer a desktop version which will then allow you to add an extension to the browser of your choice. You will notice training materials in this guide encouraging you to use the Firefox version, but if you download 5.0 or later this will no longer be an option. You can view the playlist of training videos for Zotero 5.0 here

Zotero and the Fielding Library

Want to see how to get started using Zotero in Fielding's library?  We've created a 9-part video tutorial series which walks through all of the basics: downloading, setting preferences, adding items, organizing your collection, and even using Zotero with MS Word. You can access the YouTube playlist here. (We'd recommend watching full-screen to see all the details!).

Workshop handouts

Zotero Tutorials

Zotero has produced several great how-to videos on their site that demonstrate step by step how to use Zotero's features.

This is a quick overview of how to save citations from the web.

More Zotero Screencast Tutorials

About Zotero

Photo by Karin DalzielWhat Zotero Does

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a Firefox addon that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use, lives in your web browser where you do your work, and best of all it's free. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies.

It automatically updates itself periodically to work with new online sources and new bibliographic styles.

Using This Guide

This guide is several pages long -- use the tabs across the top to navigate through topics, or the "Print Entire Guide" link in the bottom right to print the whole thing.

Zotero Quick Start Guide

See also this great guide published by the Zotero developers themselves. Also available as a PDF.

Getting and Installing Zotero

Important Information!

The newest version of Zotero, version 5.0, is now only available as a desktop application.  There is no longer a choice between the Firefox version and the Standalone version.  Moving forward, all users may download version 5.0 and add the 'browser connector' tool to the browser of their choice. Only users still using the older versions of Zotero need worry about the information and distinctions below. 

There are two version of Zotero: Zotero for Firefox and Zotero Standalone.  If you plan to use Zotero with Fielding library resources we strongly encourage you to use the 'Zotero for Firefox' version. Zotero's documentation indicates that the Standalone version does not function well with proxy servers which are the type of servers our libraries must use to make our resources available world-wide.

Zotero will run on any operating system and only takes a few seconds to install.

To install, go to and click the red "Download" button. Click "Install Zotero for Firefox" and follow the instructions.

If you see the message “Firefox prevented this site from asking you to install software on your computer," click "Allow".

Restart Firefox and you're all set! You'll see a small Zotero button in the top, right-hand corner of your Firefox window.

If you have any problems, check the Zotero installation page.

You'll probably also want to download and install the Microsoft Word citation plugin (or the OpenOffice plugin if you're using OpenOffice). These allow you to easily cite items from your Zotero library in your papers.

Mac users: The Zotero 1.0 plugin doesn't work with Word 2008 for MacOS. If you're using Word 2008 on a Mac, you should probably use Zotero 2.0. More info here.

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Creative Commons License
This guide is created by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included.  I encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials.