Add Sources to Zotero

This page describes how to get citations and pdfs from the web or your desktop into Zotero.

When retrieving sources from the web, you'll use the Zotero browser connector. It will appear somewhere in your address bar depending on your browser. Normally, it looks like a Zotero icon, but when Zotero recognizes a citation or citations it will change according to the item type.

Adding sources is also known as "importing."

Note: Zotero, like other citation tools, is only as good as the metdata provided it. It's important to check your citations. You can easily fix any error by clicking on the metadata field in Info.

Add Books from HOLLIS

Single Sources (one at a time)

When viewing an individual book record in HOLLIS, Zotero displays a small blue book icon near the address bar.

  • Click on that icon to add the book to your Zotero library: 

saving a book into Zotero from HOLLIS

Multiple Sources

When viewing multiple items on a search results screen in HOLLIS, Zotero will display a folder icon to the right of the address bar.

  • Click the folder icon and a window will open, allowing you to select the HOLLIS records you would like to add to your Zotero library.
  • When you are done selecting, click OK to add to your Zotero library.

Zotero Item Selector box


Note: Adding multiple sources to Zotero at once is recommended only for searches in the Library Catalog section of HOLLIS. Bulk adding from the Catalog & Articles section may result in incomplete metadata for journal articles, as well as PDFs not automatically downloading.

Video for Importing Books from HOLLIS


Add Journal Articles

You can save an article when viewing its record or abstract page. When on a page for an individual article Zotero will display an icon of a piece of paper Image of paper icon . Zotero will automatically download the full-text PDF if it is available.

Just as with HOLLIS, when viewing a search results screen in a database Zotero will display this folder icon Image of folder icon to the right of the address bar.

Click the icon, and a small window will open.

Select which items you'd like to save, and click OK.

Zotero Item Selector box


Video for Importing Articles from HOLLIS

Add Web Pages

Zotero can recognize descriptive information or metadata from many websites.

To save a website to Zotero just click on the website icon to the right of the address bar.

The metadata and a snapshot of the page will be saved to Zotero.

Location of website snapshot in Zotero

Add or import PDFs from your desktop

Saving PDFs that you already on have on your computer to Zotero is easy: drag and drop them into a collection. Zotero will then have the PDF, but it needs to create a "parent item" so Zotero can save the metadata necessary for citing the work later.

  1. Drag-and-drop a PDF into a collection.
  2. Zotero will automatically attempt to retrieve metadata for the item and add it for you.
  3. Note: this metadata retrieval usually works really well when the PDF contains a unique identifier, e.g., a DOI. However, it may only work partially for items such as working papers, preprints, and manuscripts; in that case, you will need to add missing metadata manually (see below).

You can also add PDFs by clicking on the Adobe icon when viewing PDFs in your browser.

Zotero icon in browser changes to a PDF icon


Manually Add Metadata for PDFs

If retrieving metadata does not work, you will only have the PDF itself in your library, without the necessary metadata to generate a proper citation. You will therefore need to manually add this information to the item: 

  1. Right click (control-click on a Mac) the PDF and choose Create Parent Item from the menu.
    Zotero menu with Create Parent item option
  2. Now, manually fill in the metadata for the item. 
    First, change the item type to the appropriate type: 
    item type drop down menu in Zotero

    Then add the remaining citation information: 
    Zotero record

Check Citations for Accuracy

Although most of the citation information that Zotero captures will be correct, it is always a good idea to check every item's author, title, date, etc., and then to correct and/or add data. 

Correcting Information

All fields can be edited by clicking in the field.

  • For example, if you need to fix a typo in a record imported from HOLLIS, click in the field and edit as needed: 
    editing a field in a Zotero record
  • If you need to add or remove authors, editors, translators, etc., click on the plus or minus button and (when adding) select the appropriate role of the person from the drop-down menu, then enter their name: 
    adding authors in a Zotero record
  • You can also change the item type (for example, change a record imported as a web page to a magazine article) by selecting the new item type from the drop-down menu: 
    choosing a new item type in Zotero
    Note that in some cases, the fields available in the record—which are determined by item type—may also change, and you may lose data.  

APA Style Title Case

Note that Zotero's output for APA style does not change title casing to sentence style. To change titles that are not in sentence case for APA or other styles with that requirement, right-click on the title > Transform text > Sentence case.

 Transforming text to sentence case