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A guide to using the citation management tool Zotero.

For MOST Databases (Address Bar "Capture" Icons)

In most online resources, Zotero automatically detects when you are looking at information for a book, article, or other source and inserts a "save reference" icon right into the address bar. The address bar icon will look like a book, document, newspaper, etc. To save, simply click the icon. If you are looking at a list of references, you may see a folder icon. This icon will prompt you to select multiple items from the list to save.


Zotero senses a list of items, so the 'folder' icon is displayed. You will be prompted to select items to import to Zotero.

Zotero folder capture icon in a URL bar for a page of Google Scholar search results.

In an article database, e.g. PubMed

Zotero senses a single citation, so the 'article' icon is displayed.

Zotero capture icon in a web browser above an article record in the PubMed database.

In the library's BobCat catalog 

Zotero sees a book citation, so the 'book' icon is displayed.

Zotero capture icon in a browser's URL bar above a record in the NYU Libraries' catalog.

Saving Multiple Items at Once

In EBSCO Hosted Databases:

  1. To save a citation within an EBSCO database, move cursor over magnifying glass and 'Add to folder.'
  2. Click on Folder to view saved items.
    • Screenshot of search results in an EBSCO database, with options to save citations.
  3. In the Folder, Select items.
  4. Click 'Export.'
    • Screenshot of saved items in an EBSCO database search.
  5. Select the option to 'Direct export' to Zotero.
  6. Open Zotero, and highlight the Zotero 'library' you want to save to.
  7. Click 'Save.'
    • Screenshot of Export Manager screen in an EBSCO database.

Export from a Database to Zotero

If Zotero does not automatically detect (provide a "capture icon" for a list, book, or article) to  import a reference into your library you can use the export  feature provided by the database.

  • SAVE the items in the database (using the "clipboard," the "marked list," "folder," whatever the database shopping cart is called.)
  • Next, look for an option to EXPORT from the list. Choose the "RIS" format. References may automatically save into Zotero, or you may have to go back into Zotero, then click the Zotero gear button and choose "import".