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Zotero (Workshop)

Links, examples and materials to accompany a Zotero workshop.

Collections (or folders)

Use Collections (or folders) to organize your citations (or references).  There are many ways to organize your citations and you need to think about what works best for your research workflow and how you think about your topics. Consider the following:  

Organizing for a paper

Your organizational scheme might be based on a particular research paper or thesis

  • Create a collection for the paper (name it something short and easy to remember)
  • Create sub-collections based on citations you have to read, are going to use, not going to use or might use

Your collections and sub-collections could look something like this:

Template Example

PaperTitle

1 To Review

2 Yes

3 Maybe

4 No

Paper - Experiential Learning

1 To Review

2 Yes

3 Maybe

4 No

  • Create sub-collections based on organizing based on themes or different aspects you want to cover.  

Your collections and sub-collections could look something like this:

Template Example

PaperTitle

Theme 1

Theme 2

Theme 3

Theme 4

Paper - Experiential Learning

Defining EL

 Good Examples of EL

 EL in Canadian Context

 Plans for our EL

Organizing for a course

Your organizational scheme might be based on a course and different papers or assignments or readings you have for that course.  

  • Create a collection for the course (use the course name or number; names are easier to remember)
  • Include sub-collections for your readings and different kinds of things you need to do for the course

Your collections and sub-collections could look something like this:

Template Example

CourseNumber

 CourseNumber-Assignment1

 CourseNumber-Assignment2

 CourseNumber-Paper

 CourseNumber-Presentation

 CourseNumber-Readings

 CourseNumber-Readings-Week1

  CourseNumber-Readings-Week2

 Nurs7340

 Nurs7340-Assignment-2024-01-29

 Nurs7340-Assignment-2024-02-21

 Nurs7340-Paper-ExperientialLearning

 Nurs7340-Presentation-SimLearning

 Nurs7340-Readings

 Nurs7340-Week1

 Nurs7340-Week2

Creating collections and sub-collections

Collection and sub-collection names can be any number of letters, numbers, special characters and spaces. It's best to keep names short and easy to understand.  These are sorted alpha-numerically.  Meaning if there is a:

  • number at the beginning of a collection name it will be sorted by number first. 
  • letter at the beginning of a collection name it is sorted alphabetically from A-Z.
  • numbers come before letters in sorting collections

Create a Collection Steps (desk top software instructions):

  1. Open Zotero.
  2. Click File (menu).
  3. Click New Collection
  4. Add a name for your collection.
  5. Click OK (button).

Create a Subcollection Steps (desk top software instructions):

  1. Open Zotero.
  2. Right-Click on the collection you wish to add a subcollection to.
  3. Click New Subcollection.
  4. Add a name for your subcollection.
  5. Click OK (button).

Add citation(s) to collection(s) or sub-collection(s) 

Two options:

  1. Select the citation in your library.  Drag and drop it over the collection you want to add it to.
  2. Add new citations directly into your collection using the Zotero Connector.

Note: This does not create a duplicate item.  It just creates a link between the item and the collection or sub-collection.

Tags

Tags can be assigned to citations (or references) to make citations easier to find.  They work very similarly to social media hashtags.  If you have downloaded your citations directly from a database some of the citations might already have tags assigned to them.  

Assign a tag to a citation - Steps:

  1. Click to select the citation you wish to add a tag to. This opens up the citation info window in Zotero.
  2. At the top of the citation Info window click the Tags (tab).
  3. Click Add (button).
  4. Type in the name of the tag you wish to add. (Note: when you start typing any tags already in your library will display for you to select from)
  5. Click Enter/Return key on keyboard to save the tag.
  6. Add as many tags as you feel are relevant to help you find the citation again.

You can distinguish between tags you assign and those a database may have assigned by customizing your tags:

  • Omit spaces between words (e.g. cysticfibrosis)
  • Use both upper and lower case letters and omit any spaces between words (e.g.  CitationTracking)
  • Put your initials and a hyphen in front of your tag (e.g. CC-rheumatoidarthritis)
  • Tags can be as involved as you need them to be (e.g. CC-7340FinalPaper-drugtherapy)
  • assign a colour to an important tag or one you use all the time

View the tags for your entire library or for a specific collection.

View tags for your entire library - Steps:

  1. Click My Library (in the left pane of Zotero).
  2. Tags for the library should be shown immediately below My Library / Collections in the left pane.  If they are not there:
    1. Click View (menu).
    2. Click Layout.
    3. Click Tag Selector.

View tags for a specific collection - Steps:

  1. Click the collection name (in the left pane of Zotero).
  2. Tags for the collection should be shown immediately below My Library / Collections in the left pane.  If they are not there:
    1. Click View (menu).
    2. Click Layout.
    3. Click Tag Selector.

Assign a colour to a tag. You can assign a colour to a tag to make it easier to find.  Coloured tags show up at the top of the tag selector list (below the My Library / Collections).  You can assign colours to up to nine tags.

Steps:

  1. Locate the tag in the Tag Selector panel.
  2. Right-Click on the tag.
  3. Click Assign Colour.
  4. Click on the coloured box to pick the colour you want to use.
  5. Assign the position you wish to see the tag in on your Tag Selector panel.
  6. Click Set Color (button).