Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

INTL494102: Human Rights in East Asia


Citation Manager: Zotero

Resources to support research in the seminar Human Rights in East Asia

Using Zotero as a History Student

Zotero is a citation manager designed specifically with historians in mind. It can be used for other disciplines but it is just about the best for the historian. This guide is designed to take you through the steps to downloading and then using Zotero. 

As you work, keep in mind that Zotero is a program without any AI or machine learning. It can use what you give it, which means you need to give it accurate information.

What's on This Page

    Zotero: Downloading and Installing

    Downloading Zotero is incredibly straightforward.

    Step 1: Go to and click the red "Download" button. 

    Step 2: Click the "Download" button to install "Zotero 5.0 for Mac" (or Windows, etc.).

    Step 3: Once the install program downloads, follow your usual installation procedures.  

    Step 4: Open Zotero to make sure it installed properly. 

    empty empty


    empty The interface on the left column has a "My Library" folder, under which you can add subfolders for classes or themes. 

    The middle column displays your bibliographic entries. You can sort by the columns visible at the top. 

    The right column includes individual entry records. You can--and should--edit these for accuracy.

    Zotero: Installing Chrome Connector

    emptyThe BC Libraries highly recommends installing the Chrome Connector if you use the Chrome Browser. You can use the Connector to directly import citation information into Zotero using the icon to the right of your address bar (where the URL's go). 

    The icons for exporting that data depend on what kind of document you are looking at.  The iconbook icon, for example, imports information on books. 

    emptyStep 1: Click "Install Chrome Connector" from the Zotero download page. 

    Step 2: Click "Add to Chrome" in the Chrome Store. Once you've approved, you should see theempty(webpage) icon appear to the right of your browser's address bar.

    Step 3: Go forth and find your sources. 

    Step 4: Make sure to read any entries you add to Zotero. You will need to fix most of your entries for accountancy.

    Zotero: Add/Edit Book Entry

    Once you've installed Zotero, you should now begin to add and edit your entries. 


    Step 1: Select a text you want to cite. 

    Step 2: Click the Zotero add icon on the Zotero icon and select the type of document you are citing. It can be a book, journal article, or other document. Note that for photographs or sculptures, you should cite them as "artworks."

    Step 3: Enter the information you have about your text as accurately and cleanly as possible. For a book, you should--at a minimum--fill out the title; author; place; publisher; date; and short title fields. 

    Zotero: Add/Edit Book Chapter

    empty To use Zotero effectively, you need to make sure that your metadata is accurate and clean (i.e., no typos, etc.). That includes telling Zotero what kind of text you are engaging and adjusting fields accordingly. 

    You've already seen an entry for a complete book. Now, if you only want to cite to one chapter, 

    1. Right click (or whatever command you use to get your 'options' menu) on the complete volume. Select "Duplicate Item"
    2. In the duplicate record, change the "Item Type" in the 3rd column from "Book" to "Book Section" (your entry will shift, adding a few new fields)
    3. Fill in the chapter title in "Title"
    4. Add in the chapter's author, if different from the book author. If the book's editor and author are the same, make sure to add in a line for both (name will appear twice)
    5. Add in the page range associated with the chapter
    6. Write an appropriate short title for your chapter

    Zotero: Add/Edit Journal Article

    To add a journal article, you can either add the entry by hand using the Zotero add buttonbutton in Zotero or you can find the article in a database like JSTOR and click on the Zotero Article Iconicon to the left of you address bar. However you add the article, make sure the following fields are in order:

    1. Item Type reads "Journal Article"
    2. Title is complete and accurate in title case
    3. Author's full name is listed with Last, First and possibly middle initial
    4. The journal title is listed in "Publication" in title case
    5. The volume number is filled, if relevant
    6. The issue number is present, if relevant
    7. The complete page range is written out
    8. The date is included as accurately as possible
    9. The short title is relevant
    10. The URL field reads as a) blank, b) a clear, stable URL, or c) ONLY the first part of the URL 

    Zotero: Add/Edit Document Report

    emptyFor most Institutional records, you'll use "Report," particularly if there is letterhead.  

    1. Start your entry either with the Zotero "plus" or through Chrome Connector.
    2. Make sure your entry is listed as a "Report" (or "Document").
    3. Enter your full title.
      • Make sure the title is in Title Case.
      • Enter your report number in this field after a comma (i.e., "Resolution 67/18, Education for Democracy, A/RES/67/18").
    4. Enter your author
      • If the personal author is known, place that name in the "Author" field.
      • If you don't the author but know the institution, place that name in the "Author field.
      • If you don't have any idea what the institution or person is, leave the field blank.
    5. State the type of document this is.
    6. Enter your place name.
    7. Enter you institution's name unless it's in the Author field.
    8. Enter your date.
    9. Enter the language.
    10. Enter the short title.
    11. Enter your clean URL.
    12. Enter Archival information if relevant. 

    Note that you do not have to fill every field unless relevant. 

    For more on citing reports/documents, see the Chicago Manual of Style


    For Additional Help

    For additional recommendations, contact your History Liaison, Erin, at or schedule an appointment.