Skip to Main Content
Banner image for Mount Allison University Libraries and ArchivesBanner image link to Mount Allison UniversityMount Allison University Libraries and Archives
Hours | Libraries Home | Music Library | University Archives

Zotero: Step 3: Saving Citations

A guide to getting started with Zotero

Zotero in Firefox

Zotero Firefox buttons

When Zotero is installed in your browser, by default you will see three icons in the top-right hand corner of your toolbar (Firefox) or a red circle Z in the address bar (Chrome) or a button with a red circle Z next to the address bar (Safari). 

  • Firefox Only: The Z icon opens Zotero in a separate pane so you can see Zotero and the page you're browsing at the same time.  You can also set in preferences for it to open in a separate tab or window.  This is where you manage or edit your citations. 
  • The icon that looks like a piece of paper is where you click to save a citation.  The shape of the icon changes depending on what kind of citation you might be saving.  The one shown above is a normal webpage. When saving a webpage, Zotero also saves a Snapshot or a static version of the site in case it goes offline.
  • The icon for a journal article is Article_Icon and it will appear when you are on an article's abstract page. When saving a journal article, Zotero will also download a copy of the PDF for you and attach it to the citation.
  • Firefox Only: The downwards pointing triangle gives you other options for saving the current page.

You can save journal articles in bulk to Zotero by searching a database for the topic you are interested in.

  1. When viewing a search results screen in a database Zotero will display Folder Icon next to the Zotero Icon to the right of the Firefox address bar or in the address bar.
  2. Click the icon, and a small window will open.
  3. Select which items you'd like to save, and click OK.
  4. Zotero will automatically download PDF copies of the articles you have chosen as well as their citation information.

Saving articles to Zotero

Create Collections

Zotero organizes your research into collections that act like folders. You can add a citation to any number of collections or subcollections.

  • Create a new collection by clicking the folder icon above the library pane. 
  • Create a subcollection by right clicking on an existing collection and selecting New Subcollection. Create a new collection

When you are going to be saving citations for a particular project, you should make a Collection for that project and save everything related to the project in it.

  1. In the Zotero window on the right side, click on the Collection you wish to save citations into.
  2. In your browser toolbar there will be an icon next to the Zotero button. The icon changes depending on what type of citation will be saved. Click on that button to save the current webpage to Zotero. When you click to save a citation now, a pop-up will appear stating that it was saved to the Collection you have open.
  3. When you open the Collection, the citation you just saved will be in that Collection with all the citation information.

Saving to a collection


Although, most of the citation information that Zotero captures will be correct, it is always a good idea to check every item's metadata for accuracy and then to correct and/or add data before putting it in a paper. Zotero will accurately import the metadata but the metadata may not be accurate.  Check for things like authors' names in all-caps or missing information. 

You can edit a citation's metadata by hand by clicking on the text next to the label.


Editing metadata