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What is Zotero?

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is an open-source citation management software that collects, manages, and cites research sources.  It's easy to use, has a web and desktop version, and (best of all!) it's free.

Citation management software can be helpful for students and faculty as they gather resources during research.  Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes, and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies.  It automatically updates itself periodically to work with new online sources and new bibliographic styles.  

Comparing Citation Management Software

Multiple citation management software systems exist, with Indiana University providing citation management support for both Zotero and Endnote.  The table below provides some insight into the differences between Zotero and Endnote, but patrons are welcome to contact for a more in-depth consultation in selecting the best software.

  Zotero Endnote Endnote Basic
Accessing Your Library On personal computer or online  On personal computer Online
Cost Free Free to IU students/ faculty/staff Free to IU students/ faculty/staff
How to Get It Download at Download from IUanyWare at Create free account at
Ease of Use Easy Moderately easy Moderately easy
Collaboration Zotero users can collaborate through "Groups" (Groups' collections can be open, closed, or private.)  Through EndNote Web EndNote users can share collections, including PDFs and annotations ("Read Only" and "Read & Write" options)
Getting Citations

Easy exporting from most library databases.

Can capture good amount of bibliographic info from web sources

Can add citations manually.

Easy exporting from most library databases and can search from within Endnote.

Can import PDFs and capture some bibliographic info.

Can add citations manually.

Easy exporting from library databases and can search from within Endnote. 

Can capture some bibliographic info from web sources.

Can add citations manually.

Storage & Attachment Limits

Unlimited citations

~20GB of attachment storage (PDFs, images, etc.)

Unlimited citations

Link and store attachments (up to 45 attachments per citation)

50,000 citations

2GB of file storage

Locating Full Text Yes, but not as easy as in EndNote.
Click the "Locate" button in the info pane for each citation.
Yes, click on the "Find Full Text" link. Must have preferences set.  Does not locate full-text. Can save full-text and attach files.
Citing while Writing  Yes, with the Zotero MS-Word or OpenOffice plug-in installed Yes, with the MS-Word "Cite While You Write" plug-in installed Yes, with the MS-Word "Cite While You Write" plug-in installed.
Annotating PDFs Not supported within Zotero, must use other software like Adobe Acrobat Annotate within EndNote Not supported within Endnote Basic.

*Thank you to Purdue Libraries for permission to adapt portions of their comparison chart.  

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This guide has been adapted for IUB Libraries based upon the LibGuide created by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included.  We encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials.