Giving your sources credit is one of the things that makes scholarly writing different from other kinds of writing. The mechanics of how to do it change from discipline to discipline, and sometimes from journal to journal. Trying to keep all the details clear and build citations and bibliographies can be time-consuming and aggravating. As librarians, we’ve watched researchers’ first encounters with Zotero many times, and we always delight in their expressions of relief.
Here are a few things we enjoy demonstrating:
When you find a source, one click on a browser icon can import all of its bibliographic information, and another two clicks can add it to your document, fully formatted as a Chicago-style footnote:
With a few more clicks, you can change it–and every other citation and bibliographic entry in your paper–to APA format:
You can add the record to a folder to organize it, and/or add it to a group and share that group with anyone from a small collaborative team to just about any arrangement of public or private group.
- Rapidly imports information through a button built into the portal you’re already familiar with: your web browser
- Easily creates citations and bibliographies in thousands of styles, including journal-specific house styles
- Keeps a comprehensive record of your sources for future projects
- Has plugins for Word, Google Docs, and other word processors so you can cite as you write
- Doesn’t lock you in. Import from and export to a wide variety of other software
- It works. It’s open-source, and has legions of dedicated coders constantly adjusting it to work with evolving products, citation styles, and web standards
- Handles websites and YouTube videos as well as scholarly materials
- Recognizes lots of sources for books, not just library catalogs and Amazon
- Automatically saves screenshots of websites and downloads PDFs when they’re available
- Handles almost any kind of file (Word document, image, etc.) you’d want to attach to a citation