Skip to Main Content

Citation Ethics and Citation Managers: Zotero

Citations are a necessary part of academic writing, but they can also be frustrating. This site will help you figure out when you need to cite, why we cite, how citation managers can help you both manage and cite sources, and where to go to learn more.

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free citation manager available from, and it exists as a desktop version, an online version, and a browser extension. It's great at collecting citation information from webpages as well as from databases, and you can create groups to share citations with others. It also has a plug-in that allows you to cite sources in MS Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. 

Getting Started with Zotero

Screenshot of Zotero tutorial

Zotero Workshop

The above workshop was recorded as part of the Research Tools for Graduate Students workshop series and covers adding references to Zotero, organizing your Zotero library, and using Zotero to cite references in documents. 

Can I import references from a reference list?

If you have a list of references in a document and would like to get them into Zotero, you can use to convert the references into a file that can be imported into Zotero. Just follow the directions on the site and save the references to BibTeX format. Download the file, and then in Zotero, go to File -- Import -- A file (BibTeX, RIS, Zotero RDF, etc.). Select the file from your downloads and click Open. The reference will be added to your Zotero library. Remember to check over the references after they've been added to Zotero to make sure they're correct. 

Finding Full Text through Zotero

Users can set up Zotero to find full text. Please note that the link and process below were last tested in June 2023. If you are having trouble finding full text, check to make sure you're using the links below. This option is usually found under Settings or Preferences - Advanced - General. You can copy and paste the following URL: 

OpenURL path for the resolver:

Authenticate with:

On-campus (no additional steps needed)

Off-campus: Campus VPN, All-Traffic (this option is needed for recognizing VT subscribed access)


Here's what it will look like in Zotero: 

Zotero settings / preferences window on the Advanced tab and general selected for adding the OpenURL

For further support

Need help working with Zotero? Contact for help at Newman Library. Please included a detailed description of the problem you're experiencing, as well as any screenshots of the error. When sending an email from Outlook, be sure you're sending it from an address, not a address; messages from addresses will not go through. You can also sign up for a virtual consultation here (select Citation Managers from the list of topics). 

For additional videos, visit