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Zotero: Adding Citations

This page contains information on the reference management software Zotero

Adding Citations

Once you are ready to start importing your references, you need to make sure the Zotero application is open and running. To do this, click the Windows icon (on the bottom left of the screen) and type “Zotero”. You should then see Zotero pop up below, click on it to open it.

open Zotero

It should look something like this when it is opened up (you can create a new folder by clicking File>New Collection):

View of Zotero when opened

N.B. Make sure the folder you want the references to go into is selected before you start adding in references.


Adding journal articles:

The best place to easily import citations from journal articles is PubMed though other databases such as Cochrane, PsycINFO and Web of Science are also compatible. When you find an article you want added, click on the “Save to Zotero” icon on the top right hand side (this option is added when the Google Chrome connector is installed. Install it from here.

Adding Journal Articles


Adding books/reports:

To add online reports or books to Zotero, the easiest way is to find the ISBN number (to find this, use Ctrl F once the item you want cited is open). For print books, it is generally on the back cover and starts with 978). When you find it, open up Zotero and click on the Add Item(s) by Identifier icon and enter the ISBN and hit enter. If it finds it, this reference will be added to your folder (this step may take a short time).

Adding books or reports to Zotero


A lot of Irish research can be found at so this is a good place to easily export reports etc. to Zotero by clicking on the “Save to Zotero” icon on the top right hand side.

N.B. You can also import the full text PDF of an article to its reference in Zotero. Right click on the reference and add the attachment from where you have it saved on your computer.


Adding web articles:

To import citations for webpages into your library, click the “Save to Zotero” icon in the address bar: 

Adding web articles to Zotero

Information about the current webpage will be saved automatically. You can edit the information by clicking on the fields in the right column:

Editing fields on Zotero


Add items by list of results:

Perform a search in a database (e.g. Google Scholar, PubMed etc. From the results page, click the folder icon and then select which items you wish to add to your collection:

Add items by list of results


Add Book Chapters:

Add the book’s details by adding the ISBN number (see “Adding books/reports” on page 3 for how to do this) and then change the Item Type to Book Section and add the chapter’s author and the title of the chapter.


Add miscellaneous items:

There may be some sources you wish to cite that can’t be easily added. For this, we can manually add these citations. Click on the green “plus” icon in the Zotero programme, choose the type of reference and fill in as many fields as possible.


Add miscellaneous items

Importing citations by RIS file in Zotero:

RIS is a useful way of importing references. This can be used when importing existing references previously stored on another reference management platform. It can also be used when importing large amounts of references from a database. Once you have the RIS file saved in one of your folders, open up Zotero and go to File>Import and then click the ‘Next’ option on the next screen. Then you will be prompted to choose the RIS file from your folders. Press ‘Next’ on the following screen (you will have the option of importing the citations into a new folder or into the folder currently selected). Press ‘Next’ and the citations will be imported. To conclude, press ‘Finish’.


National Health Library & Knowledge Service. Health Service Executive. Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8. Tel: 01-6352555/8. Email: