Never think about your citations and bibliography again. Zotero collects the information you need about your sources from the internet and then automatically creates citations and bibliographies in your documents.
Here’s how to get started.
I recommend the Zotero Standalone package that you can download here: http://www.zotero.org/download/. Download the .dmg file and click on your browser (eg. google chrome, Safari or Firefox) to download whats called ‘the connector’. You should have two files to install now. The first includes the software itself and the plugin for Word and the second includes a connector for your browser (it will become clearer what this is later). If you have Word open it will ask you to restart it for the plugin to become active.
After installing these files Zotero should appear in Word through the script icon in your menu bar.
In Word for Mac 2011 you should also find a small toolbar on your screen. Look very hard because it is easy to miss, don’t give up too soon!
IF YOU CAN’T SEE ANY OF THESE YET, scroll down to the end of this post to my ‘troubleshooting section’.
Ok , we’re ready to get started. How are we going to make use of this software? First I am going to show you how to save sources into Zotero and then how to use them in a document.
The first thing to do is learn how to get your sources into Zotero. Below you can see what my Zotero library looks like. You can create folders and subfolders to organise your sources as I have done or you can keep them all in a big list. Zotero has fairly advanced features – you can add tags and make notes within the program and you can also save the PDFs of articles within the program but I will not get into these things here. There are a number of video tutorials on their website if you are interested: http://www.zotero.org/support/screencast_tutorials.
Now, there are two ways to get sources into your library – manually and automatically.
Lets start with my favourite way – AUTOMATICALLY.
You should have installed a little connector into your browser when you downloaded and installed the two files at the beginning.
You’ll know if it’s there because when you search for something on your library catalogue (or jstor, or any website offering a catalogue of sources) a little icon should appear next to the URL. In different browsers it will look different. In google chrome it is on the right of the URL whereas in safari for example it appears on the left of the address bar next to the plus button.
IF YOU CAN’T SEE THESE ICONS YET, scroll down to the end of this post to my ‘troubleshooting section’.
Now once you have this working, the process is really simple. Zotero recognises any kind of material in a website which could be used as a source. Depending on the kind of source it is a different icon will appear. For example if you’re in a news article the icon is a newspaper.
Now all you have to do to save the source into your Zotero library is make sure Zotero is open and click on the newspaper, it will take all the necessary information from the website.
In a page with multiple sources a dialogue box will open asking you which sources you want to add to your library. For example in your library catalogue:
Manually – you can also add the information for your articles manually by clicking the plus button in the Zotero application and entering the basic information you need by yourself. However tedious this process, it is still useful when you’re writing your essay.
The question is how should you import your existing articles and books.
Zotero can search Google Scholar for your article and fetch the information for you. To do this just drag and drop your PDF. Right click it when it’s in Zotero and select ‘Retrieve metadata for PDF.’ It will prompt you to install something extra for Zotero – your preferences will open, press the installation button under ‘PDF Indexing’.
The problem with this is that google scholar does not have a database of all academic articles and not all PDFs you download will be able to work this way . If this is the case, you can revisit the website you downloaded the article from and use the tool in your browser to collect the data for it. For books I recommend the same thing, just visit your library catalogue search for the book you are using as a source and press the Zotero button in your browser to save it into your library.
If that is also not possible (for example a scan of an article from a journal) you will have to enter the information manually, sorry.
Now how would we cite one of these sources in an essay we’re writing.
When you want to make a citation in Word make sure Zotero is open. Go to the Apple script icon in the menu bar and press Zotero > add citation. In Word 2011 you can also click on the first button in the Zotero toolbar: r”z.
A window will ask you how you want this document to be set up eg. which referencing you want to use, where you want the references to be etc…
After you click ok if you’re in Word 2008 you will get a finder type window which will show your Zotero library. Here you will be able to choose your source, the page or chapter number, select multiple sources and more. In Word 2011 a red box will appear which will do the same thing (but it looks nicer).
When you need a bibliography at the end, just go back to the Zotero menu (or toolbar) and press add bibliography. Zotero remembers all the sources you have used in the document and creates the bibliography for you.
Its just MAGIC!!
For the Word connector
If you can’t see the Word Connector:
1. Try going (in Word itself) to Tools > Templates and Add Ins > check the the box saying Zotero
2. If that doesn’t work close Word. Open Zotero. Go to Zotero > Preferences > Cite and Install the Word Connector from there. Open word and it should now be there.
For Safari or Chrome
If the Zotero icons are not appearing in your web browser:
For Safari – go to http://www.zotero.org/download/ and under ‘Zotero Standalone’ click the safari icon and install it again. Check if it works now.
For Chrome – download the connector again here from the Chrome Web Store.