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Zotero Citation Mangement System

Getting Started with Zotero


See the Zotero QuickStart guide to get started. Zotero offers a number of ways to manage citation data, including using the Web Library (i.e., using a browser interface), downloading and using the native Zotero desktop application, and using the mobile app. You can use the desktop application to save all of your data locally on your computer. However, if you want to make use of your citation data on multiple devices, or just want to know that it is backed up, you will want to use Zotero’s cloud sync option. Citations you save or modify in any context will be available in any of the other contexts. 

⚠️ Note: If you are using a shared campus workstation or a computer managed by Adelphi IT, you may not be able to make use of the desktop Zotero application. In that case, the Web Library would be your available option. Data you save there will be available to sync to other devices in your control.


Zotero Desktop Application

To get the best use out of Zotero it is recommended to have the native (desktop) application installed on the machine where you do most of your research. There are features in the desktop application that are not available in the Web application, and you can sync your data from the application to the cloud for use on other devices.

Download the Zotero application appropriate to your OS, and follow the instructions for installation. If you are migrating data from another system such as RefWorks, EndNote, or Mendeley, follow the instructions on importing bibliographic data into Zotero. 

While you do not need to create a Zotero account to use the desktop application, you will need to do so to sync your data to the cloud and make it available across devices.


Zotero Web Library

To use the Zotero "Web Library" and to enable cloud syncing with desktop or mobile you will need to create a Zotero account. (C.f., Zotero’s privacy policy.) To access your cloud-based citation library, go to and select Log In. 

You can save and manage citations within the Web Library; however you may find this limiting in comparison to the desktop application. Users will get the most out of Zotero by using the desktop application for the majority of citation management work, while enabling the Web Library as a backup easily available from anywhere via a browser, e.g., when using a public workstation at Adelphi Libraries. That said, if you do not want to or cannot install the desktop application you can still make use of Zotero via the Web Library.