Zotero is a reference manager. You can use Zotero to store, organize, and cite references such as monographs, scholarly articles, webpages, case law, and statutes from your research.
Zotero is a service of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, based in Vienna, Virginia, which supports free and open source software for academic research.
First, download the Zotero desktop software to your computer.
Second, install the browser extension.
After installation of the browser extension, a Zotero icon should be in your web browser's toolbar (indicated in the images below by a red circle). Depending upon the web page you are on, the icon may look different.
If Zotero detects a book on the webpage, the icon looks like a book:
For an article, the icon looks like a white page:
For multiple sources, the icon looks like a file folder:
For a webpage, the icon looks like a gray page. Zotero displays this icon when it does not detect a source (article/book/etc.) on the page:
Now, you can start adding sources to Zotero Collections. See the Add a Collection page in this guide for more instructions on how to name a new collection for your research project.
Or, visit the Zotero Quick Start Guide to learn in more detail about how to use tags and collections in Zotero to organize your references.
Zotero or Juris-M?
Legal citation is especially complex, and Zotero is not always able to handle its nuances. If you use Zotero to generate Bluebook citations for legal sources, you will have to manually fix formatting errors. For this reason, you may prefer to use Juris-M.
Juris-M is essentially another version of Zotero which has been modified to produce legal citations. It also is better able to handle non-English sources and foreign citation styles. Like Zotero, Juris-M is free to download and use. It functions and looks almost identically to Zotero, so the instructions and screen captures in this guide will also apply to Juris-M users.
If you prefer to use Juris-M, see the links below to download the desktop app and browser extensions. Also see the links for guides from other libraries on using Juris-M, which go over features particular to that program such as abbreviations and jurisdictions. Juris-M uses Zotero's plugins for word processors.
If you already have Zotero but would like to switch to Juris-M, simply download the program and sign in using your Zotero account. Juris-M will import your library from Zotero's cloud storage. Make sure to only have one program open at a time to avoid issues.
Lastly, note that Juris-M is tailored to work with the IndigoBook citation style. While the citations it produces will be largely identical to Bluebook citations, some discrepancies may arise. You can download the Zotero Bluebook styles to use with Juris-M, but they will not be able to take advantage of Juris-M's special features for legal citations. No matter what, you will need some familiarity with Bluebook so you can check over citations on your own. No computer program can get you out of learning how to cite!