Zotero is free to use, meaning that you will be able to continue to use it if you leave Pitt, and you can collaborate with people at institutions that may not provide EndNote or another paid citation manager. Zotero is also open source and developed by a nonprofit organization.
Zotero is free to download for Windows, Mac, or Linux at zotero.org. You can also create a free Zotero account in order to sync your desktop library with a web version. This makes it easy to access all your references if you need to use a different computer, and it also allows you to create group libraries if you want to collaborate with others.
When you are downloading Zotero to your computer, you may want to install the Zotero Connector in your web browser of choice so that you can save references to your library with a single click
The storage on Zotero's free plan is limited to 300MB, but you can pay for additional storage. Alternatively, using a plug-in such as ZotFile allows you to store PDFs separately from your Zotero library while still linking them to their references. We have a step-by-step guide to setting up ZotFile.
In March 2022, Zotero released its latest update, Zotero 6. If you are a new user, when you go to download Zotero from the Zotero website, this is the version you will be downloading.
If you already have Zotero installed on your computer, simply open Zotero on your desktop, go to "Help," and then select "Check for Updates..." You will then follow the instructions to update to Zotero 6. You might not notice any major changes when you first re-open Zotero after performing the update, but you can read all about the new features and updates on the Zotero blog.
One of the biggest additions to Zotero 6 is a built-in PDF reader within the main Zotero window, which allows users to mark PDFs with highlights, notes, and image annotations without leaving Zotero. The Zotero PDF reader also syncs with the new Zotero iOS app.
Once you have updated to Zotero 6, you will need to also reinstall the Microsoft Word Add-in. In Zotero, go to Edit > Preferences > Cite > Word Processors and click on "Reinstall Microsoft Word Add-in."
This guide should help you get started with Zotero, but we always recommend attending HSLS's Introduction to Zotero class if possible. This class will cover the basics of using Zotero to import, organize, and cite your references.
Additionally, this Intro to Zotero Tutorial created by University of Pittsburgh librarian April Kelley will help you to understand how to use Zotero for citation management. Tutorial topics include how to download/install Zotero to your computer, add and organize references in your own Zotero library, and create bibliographies & citations in MS Word.