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Zotero and Legal Research: Home

This guide is a modification, with permission, of Todd Ito's guide from the University of Chicago

What is Zotero?

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is citation managment software that helps you organize your research and generate citations. Zotero is a free Firefox add-on that collects, manages, and cites research sources, in a variety of styles, including Bluebbook. Zotero will sync citations across computers and store your citations at if you've created an account. Please also back up your citations!

Be aware that unlike RefWorks, Zotero requires a download of the browser plugin, and is therefore not usable on public access computers, such as those in a library or computer lab.

    Installing Zotero & Bluebook Citation preferences

    Zotero's web version requires Mozilla Firefox and installation only takes a few seconds. To install, go to and click the red "Download Now" button and follow the instructions. Zotero's Standalone version is compatible with a variety of browsers and may also be downloaded at If you have any problems, check the Zotero installation page.

    Law School students will want to customize Zotero so that it generates citations in Bluebook format. Start by clicking the Zotero link that lives in the lower right side of your browser window (pictured below). Find the gear icon in the Zotero pane and click on the Preferences option.


    In the Cite tab, click on styles and then "Get additional Styles" to find the Bluebook style choices.


    Search Bluebook in the Style Search field and select your preferred style. Click "Install".



    Last step! Select your Bluebook style as the default style for exporting citations into Word Documents. You can change this preference at any time, but doing it now will be handy.



    Subject Guide

    Ciara Healy's picture
    Ciara Healy
    Perkins Library

    Organizing Your Zotero Library

    Click the Zotero button at the bottom right corner of your browser to open your library. At the top left of the Zotero pane is a folder button with a green plus sign. Click this to create a new "collection."

    Create collections to organize your references. Collections are like file folders on your computer, but a reference can be in more than one collection at a time. For example, you can save a book about comparative constitutional law in both your "Comparative Law" and your "Constitutional Law" collections without having to make separate copies of the reference.