Skip to Main Content Albertsons Library Reservations

PHYS 499 : Library Resources Guide

Resources & Tips for Physics Research for Seniors & Juniors

What is Zotero and Why Should I Use It?

What is Zotero and Why Should I Use It?

Zotero is an open source citation management software that allows you to:

  • Easily cite your sources
  • Create a personal library references and citations by importing citation information from indexes, databases, the Library's Catalog, and websites
  • Organize your references and share them with other researchers
  • Insert citations from Zotero directly into your Microsoft Word, Google and LibreOffice documents (see Plugins in this guide) and easily create bibliographies
  • Zotero comes preloaded with thousands of citation styles. See if your preferred style is available at Zotero Style Repository

Once you have registered, set up a Zotero, and become familiar with how it works, it can save you a lot of time and headache citing resources when you're writing, and creating a bibliography of sources or references in you papers.

Though only a few databases list Zotero in their export options, it works with the .ris and BibTeX file types that are commonly available in databases. You can also manually add items to your library as well as create an item out of any web page you might be visiting using the Zotero Connector plug-in.


There are several different free online citation managers. Each has features that differ and unique challenges in use, so if you don't like Zotero, try EndNote or Mendeley.


NOTE on Chromebooks: No desktop version of Zotero is currently available Chromebook devices.  However, you can use Zotero via the web ( and do most everything available on the desktop version.

Get Ready to Use Zotero

Register and Install Zotero

Register for a Zotero Account using your email address so you can access the Cloud storage. Once you've registered, you can use Zotero via the Web, which is handy if you work on different devices in various locations.

If you would like to use the Desktop version of Zotero:

  1. Go to in the browser you typically use
  2. Click the Download button
  3. Download the appropriate version of Zotero for your operating system
  4. If you'd like to use Zotero Connector capture citation information from websites like Google Scholar, download the plugin too


Getting Help - Tutorials and Resources

If you need help using Zotero, here are a few resources:

And of course - Contact your Librarian!

Find my contact info on the Welcome page of this guide - left side of the screen under the menu

Word Processor Plugins

Zotero word processor plugins for Microsoft Word, LibreOffice and Google Docs that allow you to easily cite your sources and create bibliographies from your Zotero library

There are also Third Party plugins for integrating Zotero into other writing systems.

The plugins come with Zotero and should automatically install.  If you'd like more information, need to manually install a plugin or need help trouble shooting, see Zotero's Word Process Plugins page

Zotero Connector

Zotero Connector allows you to save citations you find on on webpages such as Google Scholar to your Zotero library. There are connectors for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

To download Zotero Connector:

  1. Go to in the browser you typically use
  2. Click the Download button
  3. Click the Install Connector button for your browser

Exporting Citations from various Databases

Exporting Citations from Web of Science (WOS)

Once you have completed a search and selected the citations you want to export:

Step 1 - Click on "Export" button above the search results list

Web of Science Export button

Step 2 - Select "EndNote Online"

Step 3 - In the dialog box, select the fields (part of a record) to be exported for each record

Web of Science Export Records Dialog box

Step 4 - Click "Export"

The citations will automatically appear in EndNote in the "Unfiled" folder


Importing Web of Science (WOS) Citations into Zotero

Importing citations into Zotero is pretty easy.

Step 1 - Go to the to Downloads folder on your computer

Step 2 - Double click on the file called “savedrecs” (it will be file type Research Information Systems document)

Step 3 - Zotero will open and ask “Do you want to import” this file into a new collection? Click OK

Your references will be in a new folder called "savedrecs" in Zotero's left menu. You can easily rename the folder or drag and drop the records into an existing folder

Exporting Citations from Engineering Village (Compendex, Inspec, Geobase)

Once you have completed your search, and selected the documents you would like to save:

Step 1 - Click the Download icon just above the search results

Engineering Village download button


Step 2 - Select the location for the file, EndNote (RIS, Ref manager) as the format. The default file name will be Engineering_Village. Change this if you like.

Step 3 - then click Download Records.

Engineering Village Download Records dialog box


Importing Engineering Village Citations into Zotero

Importing citations into Zotero is pretty easy.

Step 1 - Go to the to Downloads folder on your computer

Step 2 - Double click on the file name Engineering_Village_ris_date (or whatever name you gave the file)

Step 3 - Zotero will open and ask “Do you want to import” this file into a new collection? Click OK

Your references will be in a new folder called Engineering_Village_ris_date in Zotero's left menu. You can easily rename the folder or drag and drop the records into an existing folder

Exporting Citations from SciFinder

Start from your SciFinder search results page

Step 1 - Select the records you want by clicking the check boxes next to each record or click the box at the top of your results list to select all of the records

Step 2 - Click the Download button in the top navigation bar toward the right side

Right side of SciFinder top navigation bar with download button circled


Step 3 - In the Download Reference Results box, use the drop down arrow to Change File Type to “Citation (.ris)"

Download Reference Results menu with Citation (.ris) style circled

In the upper right of this same menu, select whether you want to download "All Results" in your search just the "Selected Results" - i.e. the individual record boxes you checked - or a Range of records you designate

At the bottom of the menu decide what parts of each record you want to download with the citation, including: The search aka "task history", abstract, concepts, substances, analytical methods, formulations, and citations from the articles' references

Once all of your decisions are made, click the "Download" button.


Importing SciFinder Citations into Zotero


Exporting Website Citations

You can save references directly from your browser into Zotero by using the Zotero Connector

If you haven't already, you will need to download the Connector to use this feature:

  1. Go to in the browser you typically use
  2. Click the Download button
  3. Click the Install Connector button for your browser

Once the Connector has been installed


Set up Google Scholar to export records into Zotero:

  • Go to Settings in Google Scholar
  • Scroll down to Bibliography Manager and select "Show links to import citations into"
  • Select BibTeX from the drop-down menu

Exporting PubMed Citations

Once you have completed your search and marked the citations you want to Export:

Step 1 - Click the Send To button 

PubMed Send to button

Step 2 - Select Citation Manager

Step 3 - Select Create File

PubMed Create File dialog box

You will see a message that your Citations were successfully saved.


Importing PubMed Citations into Zotero


EndNote Troubleshooting

My Citation Manager Plug In doesn't work in Microsoft Word

Microsoft added it's own Citation Manager tool ("References") to MS Word. This feature needs to be turned off before another citation manager tool can be effectively  used in an MS Word document.

Microsoft Word toolbar with References tool circled

To turn off the References Tool:

Step 1 - Click File in the upper left corner

Step 2 - Select "Options"

Step 3 - Select "Customize Ribbon" in the Word Options menu

Step 4 - On the left side of the dialog box, uncheck the References, then click OK

MS Word Options showing Customize Ribbon and Unchecked References tool

Help with Citations

There are a few great sources for help with basic citation styles. They don't cover all of the citation styles out there, but they're great for the most common styles: