Ways to add items to your library

The Zotero Browser Connector

  1. Open your Zotero program.
  2. Highlight the folder in your library where you want to put the item.
  3. Click the button in the browser to import it.
    The icon will look different depending on the item (journal article, webpage, PDF, etc.) as shown below.
    Don't worry if it doesn't match exactly the item type you're importing. In the end, what matters is the metadata itself -- completeness and accuracy.
Journal Article Book PDF Webpage Multiple Items
Zotero connector for journal Zotero Connector for book Zotero connector for PDF Zotero connector for webpage Zotero connector for multiple items

From the Library Search

It's easy to add items you find in the Library Search!

Zotero library search

  • Click the Connector
  • Although you can export a page of results at once, we recommend doing one item at a time.
If the Connector does not work, then try the RIS Export Method. See also Known Translator Issues.

From a Research Database Like ProQuest

  • Click the Connector
  • Although you can export a page of results at once, we recommend doing one item at a time.​
  • If the full text PDF shows as available, oftentimes the PDF will export along with the citation.
If the Save to Zotero Connector button does not work, then try the RIS Export Method.

RIS Export Method if the Connector doesn't work

  1. Open your Zotero program
  2. Highlight the Collection you want to add the item to
  3. In the database, after selecting the item you want to cite, look for a button that says Export or Save/Export or similar
  4. Select RIS or BibTex
  5. Export
  6. If the file won't open, check your pop-up blocker
  7. If you're not prompted, you can import or drag your saved RIS file into Zotero.
  8. The PDF will not be saved with the item, but you can drag it on top of the item. It will appear under the item as an attachment.

Exporting from the NPS Archive: Calhoun

Problem exporting

If you see the folder icon folder icon and the export is not working, try this:

  1. Open the PDF in your browser
  2. Use the Connector to export to Zotero
  3. Within Zotero, you will likely need to edit the record to get a properly formatted citation. For example, you might have to change the Item Type to "Thesis"
  4. Follow the Zotero example in the Citation Guide for your style

From Google Scholar

Use the Connector 

Add PDFs

Drag and drop the PDF into the center pane.


If there is no Info Tab with metadata:

Zotero pdf metadata

  1. Right click on the highlighted PDF
  2. Click on Retrieve Metadata for PDF

If you don't get the Retrieval Complete window, you'll be prompted to install the PDF Tool. Proceed through the pop up windows: Open Preferences > Check for installer > Install


It that doesn't work, you need to create a Parent Item (a record) to use for citing in Word.

  1. Right clickcreate parent item
  2. Select Create Parent Item
  3. Now you have an item record and an Info Tab where you can add the citation information

If you already have the Parent Item, and you want to attach a PDF to it:

  • Drag and drop the PDF on top of the parent item or

  • Right click on the item > Add Attachment
        (You can also use the paperclip icon)

Some students use ZotFile to manage their PDFs.



Use the Connector


Identifiers (ISBN or DOI)

Most commercially published books and journal articles have a standard unique identification number (ISBN for books, DOI for articles, ebooks, datasets, etc.). 

To import using the ISBN or DOI, click on the magic wand and enter the number.

Zotero doi isbn

Other places to look for items

For books, try:

For articles/reports, try:

Manual Entry

Sometimes it may be easier and more accurate to add an item manually. 

Zotero add new item

  1. In Zotero desktop, click the "New Item" button.
  2. Select the appropriate source type from the drop-down menu.
  3. Add the citation information in the right hand pane.