Reference management software: Zotero

Changing errors in the metadata

Sometimes you may discover errors in the metadata, e.g., an false year of publication for a source. Never change directly in the citations in the document (grey fields in Word), since all changes made there will be overwritten the next time the document is updated! Instead, do as follows:

  1. Always go first to the cited item in your Zotero library. As you mark the item, its metadata appears to the right. There, you can edit any errors you discover by entering the correct metadata directly in the metadata fields, e.g., under "Editor" or "Title". The changes will be updated both in the citations and in the reference list in your document when you click Refresh in the Zotero tab.
  2. If you need to make changes manually in the citation in your document, use Unlink Citations in the Zotero tab in Word. This breaks the connection between Zotero and your Word document and stops the citations from being updated. You can now edit the citations without risking to have the changes overwritten.

Note that the connection cannot be restored! If you break it, it should thus be among the last things you do with the document. We also recommend that you make a copy of the document before breaking the connection; in this way, you will still have a version to work with in Zotero, should you wish, for instance, to change the reference style in your article in order to send it to a different journal.

Adding fields missing in the metadata

If an item type is missing fields in the metadata that are needed in the citations and are included in a reference style, you have the possibility to add certain data in the field Extra, found at the bottom of the item metadata.

Add each variable on a separate line in the Extra field according to the following format: [CSL variable]: [value], e.g., "Original date: 1824".

A list of allowed CSL variables can be found at this page.