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An introduction to the citation management software Zotero, also a companion to our workshop of the same name.

Determining Which Version of Zotero is Right for You

Is Zotero Online Right for Me?


Zotero Online is a web application that takes the majority of the functionality of Zotero 5.0 and condenses it for use on Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.  The same version of Zotero Online works on all computers; there is no separate version for different browsers or for PC vs Mac.

Use Zotero Online if:

  • You prefer to work in a web browser.
  • You plan to work from a variety of different devices, rather than just one or two.

To Effectively Use Zotero Online:

  1. Go to the Zotero Website.  Click the option "register for a free account."  Once you finish, you may have to confirm your account through an email message.  Login, and now you can see your library and get started!

  2. Connectors allow your web browser to save citations to your Zotero library.  Open your preferred browser and click the Zotero Connector to install.  Each browser has its own version of the Zotero Connector; so, you will need to install multiple versions of Zotero Connector if you use multiple browsers.

Is Zotero 5.0 Right for Me?


Unlike Zotero Online, Zotero 5.0 runs as a separate program instead of part of your web browser.  You can install both Zotero 5.0 and Zotero Online and use both on the same computer. 

Use Zotero 5.0 if:

  • You prefer working offline and syncing your work later.
  • You need more storage space for your document library than the free web version can offer.

To Effectively Use Zotero 5.0:

  1. Download and install Zotero 5.0 just as you would any other program. There's a different version for each operating system: Windows, Mac or Linux.
  2. Connectors allow your web browser to save citations to your Zotero library.  Open your preferred browswer and click the Zotero Connector to install.  Each browser has its own version of the Zotero connector; so, if you use both Chrome and Safari, you'll need to install both.
  3. Word processor plugins allow you to insert citations and bibliographies directly into your documents.  These plugins should install automatically when you install Zotero 5.0; however, you can check the Word Processor Plugins page for advice if the plugins did not install.