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Citation Management Tools

This guide includes information about citation management tools, or applications used to organize your references, generate bibliographies, and collaborate with others.

About Zotero

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is an application that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use, connects with your web browser to automatically download sources, and is completely free. Zotero was created for the Firefox browser and can also be used with Chrome. It allows you to attach PDFs, notes, and images to your citations, organize them into collections, tag them with keywords for different projects, and use over 8,000 citation styles to create bibliographies. If you want to synchronize your data across devices, Zotero lets you access your research from any web browser. It also supports collaboration and sharingyou can co-create papers or bibliographies and share materials with as many people as you’d like.

Zotero does have a few limitations. You receive 300 MB of storage when you sign up for a Zotero account. This is less than you receive when you sign up for other citation managers, but you can purchase more storage if necessary. In addition, while Zotero’s status as an independent, nonprofit organization that has no financial interest in your private information is a positive attribute, this means that user support may not be as robust as it is for other tools.

Zotero’s Features

Technical Compatibility

  • Platforms: Zotero has full support for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Synchronization: Data syncing allows you to work with your data from any computer that has Zotero installed.
  • Mobile access: The mobile version of allows you to access and edit your Zotero library on your tablet or mobile phone.
  • Multiple computer access: Install Zotero on multiple computers to access your Zotero library.

Reference Management

  • Full-text search: Zotero extracts full-text content from PDFs for searching.
  • Metadata retrieval: Zotero automatically retrieves metadata from the PDFs you import.
  • Highlight/annotate: Highlight and annotate your files before sharing them with others.
  • Organizational flexibility: Choose how to organize your files with groups, tags, and filters.

Groups and Sharing

  • Sharing: Share your own work or sources you have discovered with others who are working in related areas.
  • Groups: Collaborate with colleagues, publicly or privately, on ongoing research.
  • Networking: Discover other people with similar interests and the sources they are citing.


  • Word processing: Zotero makes inserting bibliographies created with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other programs simple.
  • Import/export formats: Zotero can import and export BibTeX, EndNote, RIS, and other formats.
  • Zotero API: Zotero's API is completely open source and can be used by third parties to build applications using Zotero's data.

Vendor Information

How to download, install, and use Zotero

Zotero Homepage: Download Zotero and learn how to use it.

GSU Zotero Library Guide: Jason Puckett, a librarian at Georgia State University and an expert in Zotero, created this very helpful Library Guide. It includes the following content:

In addition, ASU Library users have access to Zotero: a guide for librarians, researchers and educators (online) by Jason Puckett. 

Zotero YouTube Videos: Step-by-step video instructions on Zotero by Nicholas Cifuentes-Goodbody.

Zotero Support: A knowledge base from Zotero arranged by subject.

Hours and Locations