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Collect, organize, cite and share your research with this free software.

Workshops, Training, and Help

Questions about using Zotero? Schedule an in-person appointment or an online appointment with a member of our Zotero Help Team, or email us at

Brandeis Library offers free workshops for members of the Brandeis community. Sign up for a Zotero workshop, or request a workshop for your group.

Zotero Glossary

  • Collection – A folder in your Zotero library
  • Export/Import – Move references/libraries to or from other citation managers or into other programs
  • Item – A reference (book, journal article, etc.) or file (pdf, snapshot, etc.) in your Zotero Library
    • Child item – Sub-level item in Zotero library
    • Parent item – Top-level item in Zotero library

Child and Parent item comparisonn

  • Rename file from parent item – Renames sub-level item using info from top-level item (e.g., renames PDF from citation)
  • Retrieve PDF Metadata –  Zotero will search Google Scholar & Cross Ref to see if it can find a citation that matches your PDF. If it finds a match, it’ll attach the citation to your PDF. Note: This feature works well for items from library databases and catalogues. It does not work well for grey literature items (e.g., NGO and think tank reports). The citations for grey literature items should be entered manually.
  • Sync – Uploads/downloads items from Items synced to can be accessed online from and then synced to other computers.
  • Site translator – Helps gather information from a website so the Zotero can import accurate citation information into your library.
  • Zotero Snapshot – A locally stored copy of the webpage at the exact moment when it was saved. Note: The snapshot feature will also capture any ads and associated files that are on the webpage.

Attachment Glossary

Attachment (File) Item Type Icons:

These items are usually attached (child items) to reference items (books, journal article), but may also be unattached and stored in you library on their own (parent item). They can contain links, files (.doc, .pdf, etc.), saved webpages, or your notes.

Document Icon

Document (or other file)

Note Icon

Note (Child or Parent)

PDF Icon


Snapshot Icon

Snapshot (a saved image of a webpage)

URL Link Icon

URL Link