Zotero: Saving Compsing Seniors

For this tutorial, I chose something simple that Austin ran through briefly in class, and I thought it would be helpful for those interested and/or intimidated by making bibliographies (such as myself) to make a short tutorial about this easy-to-use program: Zotero!

Zotero is a program you download from the web through this link and I also recommend adding the plug-in for your preferred browser. It enables you to take articles or sources from the web and create a bibliography quickly and reliably, without relying on a website like easybib.com, where various advertisements can get in the way. In this particular context, it is incredibly useful for any project or paper you are working on – in my case, my comps.

So, that said… Step 1: Download Zotero and add the web plug-in.

Step 2: Add a new item. From the web, you can pull up a source you’re interested in citing. In my case, it is this article by Kenneth Honea. You can then save the item to your library, where then Zotero takes all the information it needs.

Step 3: Create a collection. Once you’ve added all the items you would like to cite, you can create a collection – a folder within your library to hold the items for your specific project. You can just drag your items from either “My Library” or “Unfiled Items” and put them in your new collection.

Step 4: Create bibliography. Now, for the beautiful thing about Zotero: with one click of a button, it will make a bibliography for you. You can choose the citation style, depending on the requirements of the project you’re working, and then Zotero makes the bibliography for you. It can make a bibliography for a singular item, or for an entire collection, so consider your comps bibliography written!

Step 5: Make a note, a timeline, a collaborative library, or use one of the other tools Zotero provides. Even with Zotero being such a simple, it has some pretty useful tools built in. You can make a note on a singular source, on a collection, or on a whole library. You can also make timelines. The timeline function on Zotero is not the most sophisticated, but it can give you a good idea of how your sources compare to one another in when they were printed or added to the library. You can also make collaborative libraries with a free account on Zotero. (Step 5.5: Make your free account on Zotero.)

Hope that this is helpful, and good luck to my fellow compsing seniors! The finish line is close!

One Comment

  1. This is a very clear and helpful beginner’s tutorial for Zotero. The use case is well explained and the screen shots make it easy to follow on. Everyone should use it if you’re writing with sources you need to cite — a life saver!

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