At a Glance
What is it?
Zotero is a free, easy-to-use, open-source research tool that runs in the Firefox web browser and helps users gather, annotate, organize, cross-reference, and share the results of their research. At its most basic level, Zotero is a citation manager that expands for multiple tasks and uses. Specifically, Zotero let's you collect, organize, cite, sync, and collaborate online. Capture online research data from books, journal articles, websites and other resources with a single click on your location bar; take notes and otherwise annotate saved items, archive entire web pages; store related PDFs, files, images and links; organize and export data, and plot items on maps.
Zotero works with Firefox (3.0 and up) and Flock (2.0 and up) for Windows, Mac and Linux. The first step is to download and install Zotero. The online users guide gives complete instructions for installation, troubleshooting issues, and step-by-step guides to creating your own research library, organizing it, generating bibliographies and reports, syncing data, and getting the most out of the program. Screenshots and videos illustrate and clarify directions. Zotero's group feature enable's users to share their own work with others, to collaborate with colleagues (publicly or privately), and to discover and join in with other people working on similar interests. Groups represent a wide range of interests and in some instances advanced classes and students use Zotero groups for to share course materials— such as this Purdue University class, 680Archives, a group library for the Archives and Digital Humanities.
Zotero is a compact, accessible, and excellent resource for researchers—and an excellent platform for professional development, for educators to share materials and resources. In the K-12 arena, the software may be most useful for advanced high school students. Regular blog updates keep users on top of new developments and uses for Zotero. Zotero forums help users (and developers) navigate issues and maximize use of various features. The free Zotero account offers 100 MB of free storage. Additional cloud-based storage solutions for PDFs, images, web snapshots, and any other files attached to your Zotero personal and group libraries are available for nominal fees ($20 annually for 1G in June 2101.) storage solutions for heavy users allow you to access your Zotero-attached files from any computer with a web browser, and you can synchronize these files to any computer with Zotero installed.