Skip to main content
Banner Image

Zotero - Collect, Organize, Cite and Share your Research Sources: Introduction

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.

Zotero Guide Book

Have a question? Chat with us!

More Information

Other Reference Managers

Mendeley is a citation management tool that, like many others, lets you collect & organize citations, & then easily insert them into documents & format bibliographies.  But it also lets you drag & drop PDFs into your library & extracts the metadata to create a library!

You can highlight and annotate your PDFs and share them with others.  Colleagues can then also annotate the same document, with each author displaying as a different color.

Use more than one computer?  It's not a problem!  Download Mendeley Desktop to as many computers as you want, then sync them with a click of your mouse.  Need to use your library away from your computer?  Mendeley Web gives you access to your citations no matter where you are.

Mendeley is social:  create a profile, follow other researchers, create a network of people doing similar research.  Discover the articles and journals that are being read in your field right now.

Create collections of papers.  Make them public & share them with an RSS feed (great for class reading lists!).

Click to learn more about Mendeley!

EndNote is a software that:

  • stores and organizes references found from many sources
  • inserts these references into a Word document 
  • automatically formats your references according to a predefined citation style, and more! 

If you're new to EndNote, check out the Installation Instructions and Step by Step Guide.

Loading ...

Zotero Training Sessions

Zotero hands-on tutorials are conducted by NUS librarians around the recess weeks of each semester. Please watch out for this space for the schedules as well as our email newsletter announcing upcoming sessions.

For urgent Zotero assistance and queries, please contact your nearest Zotero librarian listed on the right.

What is Zotero?


Zotero is a free bibliographic citation management software that allows you to save, collect, manage, cite, and share research sources. Zotero is available either as a Firefox extension or as standalone software that works with Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers. It works right in your browser, making it easy to save you citations while you search.

Use the Zotero word processor plugins to easily cite your sources and create a bibliography while you work.

Note: While Zotero is a free software, the Zotero cloud storage has a limit of 300 megabytes. Anything more than 300 megabytes, you would have to pay for extra storage. However it is possible to expand your storage space for free by following the instructions here.

What can Zotero do?

Pros and Cons of Zotero

Some points to consider before you start using Zotero:


  • Great for importing records for non-traditional references, like wikis and websites.

  • Helps to organize web screenshots and PDFs. You can make PDFs searchable by choosing to index them in the preferences menu. 

  • Easily imports records from many of the resources you already use.

  • The program lives where you already do most of your research, in the browser.

  • Imports records from several major databases that won't work with EndNote & Mendeley, including Factiva, USPTO, Espacenet, & FreePatentsOnline.

  • It's user-friendly.

  • Easily retrieves PDF metadata, like title and author information.

  • Great for creating bibliographies in

  • Synchronizes collections among multiple computers & backs up data.

  • Offers option to create user profiles and groups, so you can share your collection.

  • Detects proxy servers automatically, making off-campus access to library databases easier.


  • Need to pay for extra storage space.

Google Docs and Zotero

Zotero works well with Word and OpenOffice, but you can also use it with Google Docs. (It's a little clunky, but if you're hooked on Google Docs, it's better than nothing!)

To insert a Zotero reference in Google Docs, use keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Open your Google Doc and your Zotero library.
  2. In your Zotero window, click on the record you want to cite. 
    1. To copy an end-of-document reference, use keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+C. 
    2. To copy an in-text citation, use keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+A.
  3. Paste it into your Google Doc.
  4. To add a bibliography at the end of your document, in Zotero, select the citations you used, right-click, select “Create Bibliography from Selected Items,” and choose “Export to Clipboard.” Then paste into Google Docs.

Resource Librarian

Ming Guang Han's picture
Ming Guang Han
NUS Central Library
+65 6516 3127

BrowZine is now available in NUS!

Zotero is able to save citations and pdfs that you have read in BrowZine. Try it today!