Organize Your Research

Create Collections

Zotero organizes your research into collections that act like iTunes playlists. You can add a citation to any number of collections or subcollections. Create a new collection by clicking the folder icon above the library pane. Create a subcollection by right clicking on an existing collection and selecting New Subcollection.

Use Collections

You can drag and drop any citations already in Zotero onto the new collection. Items will now be in both My Library and the new collection. With the collection selected, any items you save will automatically be filed into the collection.

Tag Items

Tags are keywords you can assign to items that allow you to characterize items and group them together outside of collections. Tags can be imported from databases along with citation information or they can be added manually. All tags are searchable through the Zotero search box.

Disabling Automatic Tagging
If you do not want to use tags or only want to use tags you have created manually, go to Zotero Preferences. Under General, uncheck Automatically tag items with keywords and subject headings.

Manually Add Tags
To tag items yourself, select an item in Zotero and then select the Tags tab in the column on the right. Click on Add. Enter the word or phrase you want to use and press Enter. Tags can be renamed by clicking on them and deleted by using the 'minus' button. Your tags will now appear in Zotero's bottom left window pane.

Add Multiple Items to a Tag
You can add items in bulk to an already existing tag by selecting all of the items within a collection that you want to assign that tag and then dragging them onto to tag in the Tag Pane.

Tag with Colors

Add Notes

Notes are an easy way to record your thoughts directly in Zotero while reading your research materials. You can also use them as to-do lists, brainstorming materials, or for any other reason. 

Notice that when you open Zotero, it shows three panes:

To add notes to items in your Zotero library, click on the notes tab in the right pane.

You can search the citations and fulltext for anything in your Zotero Library. From the search dropdown, select Everything.

With saved searches, you can create smart collections that automatically fill with relevant materials as you add them to your library.

Click the magnifying glass to use the Advanced Search. Enter your search terms and click Save Search.

Note that you can also create saved searches for two or more tags. This search might be particularly helpful when aggregating sources for a journal article or a dissertation chapter.

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