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Zotero - Managing your Sources

Citation Guides

Getting Research Help

Chat with a Librarian

Book an Appointment

Get lengthier and more specialized research help with our book an appointment service.

Visit our Research Help Desk

Visit the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the Library for help.

Attend a Workshop

Workshops are scheduled throughout the term.

Online Guides and Videos

How-to guides and videos on writing, research and citation 

Why Cite

When writing a research paper you will use a wide variety of resources.  You are required to cite your sources for two main reasons:

  1. To give credit to the creator of the original idea.  By citing you will avoid any charges of plagiarism.
  2. To enable readers of your paper to be able to find the resources you have used and consult them to read further on the topic.

For more information, check Why We Cite and How to Avoid Plagiarism.


Zotero Zotero Logo

[zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.

A personal research assistant.

  • Zotero is the only research tool that automatically senses content in your web browser, allowing you to add journal articles, websites and books from Ryerson's library catalog  with a single click.
  • You can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snaps shots of web pages, and really anything else 

Organize your Sources Across your Devices

  • ​Zotero automatically synchronizes your data across as many devices as you choose. 
  • You can tag and organize your research items however you like.
  • You can also save your searches for next time. 

Cite Your Sources

  • Whether you need to create footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, or bibliographies, Zotero will do all the dirty work for you, leaving you free to focus on your writing.
  • Pen and paperYou can create citations in Word and OpenOffice without ever leaving your word processor and add references to an email, a Google Doc, or some other editor simply by dragging one or more references out of Zotero.

Collaborate and Share with your Group

  • Create and join research groups to focus on any topic you choose. Each group can share its own research library, complete with files, bibliographic data, notes, and discussion threads. Tag and analyze your research group of people (black shadows)together with others. Work with a single colleague or an entire class: Zotero groups can include as many members as you please.



Follow the steps below to get started

1. Sign up and Download Zotero

Download image from Zotero. Click on the link to go to the download page

Download it or add it to your browser.

2. Add & Import Sources to Zotero

The video below illustrates how to capture citation information and full text files from databases like JSTOR, and websites. You can also add links to files or file attachments to citations once you have them in your Zotero Library. Finally, note that you can configure your Zotero preferences to locate full text using RULA's library lookup and retrieve citation details for PDF files you drag and drop into your Zotero library.


Set your account preferences

Go to your Zotero preferences, and check for the installer for PDF indexing. This will allow you to look up the article details from PDF files you add to your library.

To configure your account to use RULA's library lookup tool, go to the advanced tab in your Zotero preferences, and add RYERSON UNIV as an OpenURL Library lookup. Ryerson's OpenURL resolver is http://sfx.scholarsportal.info/ryerson


5. Sync and Share and Backup

Migrate your RefWorks Data to Zotero

Users may move all of their references from RefWorks to Zotero using the steps below. This export does not move attachments.

  • Export your references either all together, or one folder at a time.
  • In your RefWorks database, navigate to References > All references OR If you are exporting one folder at a time, navigate to References > [Folder name] and repeat steps below for each folder.
  • Click Create Bibliography
  • In the Create Bibliography window, select All in List; choose Local Bibliographic Software (Endnote,..) as the output style; and select the TEXT file type. Press the Create Bibliography button.
  • A new browser window will appear with all the references in your account (or all references from the folder you selected) formatted in the RIS export format. Save the page as export.ris (or whatever you want to call it, but make sure to use the RIS extension).
  • In Zotero navigate to File > Import and choose the saved .ris file
  • Zotero will import each .ris file as a new collection, so if you are exporting one folder at a time, your folder structure will be maintained (though you may need to re-name your folder if the .ris file did not have the exact name of your old folder)

... this may sound complicated, but it's quite easy, really. The only tricky thing is the creation of a text file as an intermediary step. All in all, it takes two minutes to export 800+ references from RefWorks account to Zotero — so it's much more efficient than re-tagging everything by hand.

More Help from Zotero's website

Zotero Support Zotero Documentation Page


Help and Documentation