Skip to main content

Zotero: Add references

Learn how to use the reference management software Zotero.

Zotero web translator

Zotero uses a web translator to scan a website to determine what type of resource you are looking at. For example, if you were to search the AUT Library catalogue to locate a book, Zotero would recognise that the catalogue record you are looking at is for a book. A book icon will appear at the top right hand of your browser:                          

The icon that appears will vary depending on the type of resource, for example:

  • -- a book;    -- a journal article; -- a video recording
  • A folder icon indicates that there are multiple records on the page you are looking at. Clicking the folder icon allows you to choose which records to download. You can download the details of multiple items simultaneously by using the folder icon. 

To add an item to your Zotero library, simply click on the icon to download the available bibliographic data to your Zotero library.

How to add references to your Zotero library

Example - using Zotero for Firefox

  • Open a Firefox browser.
  • Go to the Library Search page, type Zotero in the search box to find books or articles about Zotero.
  • On the result screen, click the translator icon on the browser.



  • A Zotero Item Selector box will pop-up. Select records of books and articles, click OK to download these records to the Zotero library



  • The two records are now in the Zotero library.



  • Note: subject keywords are also downloaded as Tags from Library Search to the Zotero library (at the bottom of the left column).

Saving a webpage to your Zotero library is very easy.

  • Find a webpage that your want to add to your library. For example, a blog article Studying the Altmetrics of Zotero Data 
  • A blog post icon will show on the tool bar
  • Click the icon to save this web page to your library
  • is now in the library
  • Open your Zotero library.
  • Click and enter an ISBN or a DOI number to import an item to Zotero.


  • Click on the green plus+ button, select a type of reference, e.g. Book


  • Enter details for a book, e.g. title, author, publisher, etc.
  • Click Tags to add some keywords or subject terms for describing this book.



  • You can click the  icon to attach a file or a link to a reference.

There are several ways to attach files to an item in your library:

Adding files from a browser

  • Zotero automatically saves PDF's (where available) and web page snapshots to your Zotero library.

Using attachment menu

  • Select a single item in the center column, click the paperclip button, and select one of the following options: 


  • You can also right-click on an item, select Add attachment to find above options.

Drag and drop

  • You can drag a file saved on your computer to an item in the Zotero centre column to attach it to that item.
  • You can also drag a file to the Zotero centre column, this will add this file as a standalone file item in Zotero. You will then manually add details, e.g. title, author, etc. to create a citation for this item.
Loading ...