Hack College

Work Smart, Not Hard: Use Zotero

Think of Zotero (a free, open source, easy to use program) not only as a citation management tool, but a program that lets you compile and organizes research sources. I use it to collect sources (especially when starting a new project), organize topics within a particular project, and share them with others. Using zotero from the very beginning of a project will help you work smart and efficiently – and it generates bibliographies automatically!

Why use Zotero?

Installing and Configuring a Zotero Library

  1. Create a free Zotero account
    • Go to and select Register (upper right hand corner)
    • Fill in the registration information and verify the account via your email
  2. Install a library
    • Go to and click on Download Now
    • Choose Zotero Standalone
      • Also install a browser extension (below) to link your library with your preferred browser
        Image showing Browser Extensions for Zotero
  1. Configure your library
    • In your Zotero library, click on the gear icon and select preferences ->sync:
      Screenshot of sync button in Zotero
  • Enter in your account information
  • Click the Green sync button in the upper-right hand corner
  1. After you’ve synced Standalone and your browser, try the following:
    • Go to a library database and locate an article
      • Save to Zotero with your browser extension
    • Go to Standalone and create a folder
      • Drag your new item into this folder
    • Check to see if Zotero grabbed the full text or a screenshot of your item
    • Add a note or tag to your item

For more questions visit the library’s Zotero Guide: or e-mail