Reference management software: Zotero

There are many ways to keep your library clean and tidy, e.g. by keeping your items sorted and easy to find.

Using folders

1. Use folders

Create a New collection and organise your items by the use of folders. Drag and drop to re-organise.

2. Duplicate items

This is where you find your duplicates. Chose the item you wish to be the master item and tick Merge 2 items. From the window that opens, you can also choose which metadata you want to keep in the retained item by selecting the relevant field.

3. Unfiled items

This is where the items not yet sorted into folders are placed. Go through the list and see if you can place them into an already existing folder.

Note taking

Notes are a good way to add personal thoughts and information to the items stored in your library. All notes will also be searchable in your library. There are two types of notes:

  1. child note is connected to an item. Mark your item and then click on the Notes side bar-option, next to the Info-sidebar, to the right.
  2. standalone note, not connected to an item. Click on the New note icon  or go via File > New note.

Tagging your items

It is possible to add tags to all items in your library; some items also come with tags already when you import them. Tags are a great way to make your items easy to find once you have a large library.

  • In order to add a new tag, you first need to mark an item in your library. Then click Add in the tab Tags and name your tag.
  • The Tag selector is located at the bottom of the left Zotero pane, click to make it visible. Here, you will find all tags in use. By right clicking a tag, you may for instance assign a colour to a tag.
  • The tags are all searchable.

PDF files and storage

Zotero can function as a PDF manager. It can download PDF files together with the item metadata, and you can find them and search their contents in Zotero. However, if you use Zotero as a PDF library your free 300 MB storage will shrink quite rapidly.

In order to enable or prevent Zotero from automatically attaching PDF files when importing an item, go to Zotero Preferences > General > File handling > tick/untick Automatically attach associated PDFs […].

If you’re saving files in Zotero, it might be a good idea to check your storage.

  • Log on to your account at > go to Upgrade storage.
  • Or go via your account > Home > Settings > Storage.