From their website:
Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.
Zotero is particularly useful if you will be using a wide variety of sources to write research papers. It is a Firefox plugin and standalone program that is used alongside Microsoft Word.
Reasons why you should use Zotero:
- Zotero works as a cloud service, so you can access your bookmarks on multiple computers. As well, Zotero can work offline, meaning you don’t need Internet access to create your citations.
- You can create your citations in a number of different formats- APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. If you want to change your citations from one style to another, you can do so with the click of a few buttons.
- You avoid the hassles of formatting. If you struggle with creating hanging indents or don’t know when to use italics in APA, Zotero will take care of all that for you.
- Zotero will save a copy of the journal article, PDF document, webpage, etc. for you when you add it to your folder. If you lose an existing copy of an article, rest assured that Zotero will always save a backup copy.
To use Zotero:
- Download the Firefox plugin or the standalone program that is compatible with other browsers. I recommend using Firefox because Zotero is integrated right into the browser.
- Download the Microsoft Word plugin.
- Download the PDF plugin right from Zotero. Right click on a PDF in your library to “Retrieve Metadata For PDF”, and the plugin will install in a matter of seconds. You can also download the plugins from the Search pane of the Zotero preferences.
For some really helpful tutorials, Zotero has a number of easy to follow screencasts on their website.