What is metadata?

Metadata is information that describes an item. For example, author, title, journal title, date, and the DOI or URL, are common pieces of metadata needed to create a citation.

Verification Checklist

 Do you have an Info Tab with metadata?


 If item does not have an Info Tab with metadata, did you create a Parent Item and add the metadata?


retrieve metadata
  • Right click > Retrieve Metadata for PDF or

  • Right click > Create Parent Item > Add metadata


 Do you have the needed pieces of metadata?

Check against the examples given in the Citation Guide. Examples:

  • Journal articles: Author(s), Article Title, Journal Title, Volume and/or Issue, Date, Page Range, DOI or URL
  • Books: Author, Title, Short Title, (Editor), Place of publication, Publisher, Date
  • Government Reports: Author, Title, Document ID#, Place of Publication, Publisher, Year, Page(s), URL
  • Websites: Author, Title, Organization, Date, URL

 Did you use Zotero Examples or the Style Preview function to verify against the Citation Guide examples?

Style Preview function


But if you don't want to install the plugin, you can follow the multiple steps below.

  1. Highlight the item
  2. Go to Preferences
  3. Click the Cite tab
  4. Click Style Preview button
    style preview
  5. Select the Citation Format in the drop down.
    • Choose author date for APA, Chicago AD, INFORMS
    • Choose note for Chicago NB
    • Choose numeric for IEEE

      style preview citation format
  6. Open another window with the Citation Guide.
  7. Compare the the Style Preview with the relevant example in the guide
  8. Make the necessary edits in Zotero if possible so that the Preview matches the Citation Guide example as closely as possible.