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Citation Management with Zotero

Learn to use Zotero, a free, open-source citation management tool.

Collaborate with Colleagues Using Zotero

Group libraries allow you to share references with other Zotero users. Groups can be open to anyone or private to specific users, and granular settings allow you to permit view only or editing access to the library. Members of groups can cite from the library, so it's great strategy for working on collaborative documents. Any group libraries for which you are an administrator or member will appear in your Zotero client as well as your account on

Group Libraries & My Library

Think of each of your libraries as filing cabinets. Your My Library and a group library, even though they both appear in Zotero, do not talk to each other at all. If you have a reference in My Library and you drag and drop it into one of your group libraries, those two references are now completely separate; unlike with collections, you are copying the reference, not displaying the same reference in two places. If you add an attachment to that reference in one library, you won't see it in the other.

Create a Group Library

To create a new group, tap the filing cabinet icon in the toolbar above the navigation pane and choose New Group.

Zotero will open in your browser and have you login to your account. The Create a New Group page first has you name your group. It also creates a unique friendly URL based on the name.

Choose from three group types. In many cases, you'll choose a private group (number 3 in the image below), so you can invite individuals. A public group with closed membership allows others to find the group, but they'll need to request access from (or be invited by) the administrator.

On the group settings page, you can decide on the granular reading and editing settings for the group. You can also modify the group type.

On the Group Settings page, select Member Settings to see who has access to the group library.

From Member Settings, you can invite members to the group by email address or Zotero username.

You can also modify the roles of existing members.

Access Group Libraries

Any group libraries of which you are an administrator or a member will appear in the Zotero client in the Group Libraries area of the navigation pane, below My Library.

Double-clicking the name of a group library in Zotero will take you directly to the group library on

Cite from Group Libraries

You can cite from My Library or any of your group libraries when citing while writing. If a reference appears in multiple libraries, you'll see both copies and select which library's version you wish to cite.