Are you trying to figure out Chicago (or APA, or MLA, or SBL) or any other style your final paper needs to be put in and don’t know how?  Consider using Zotero to help you with this task, even if you have already typed your paper. The original post on Zotero in Library 411 says it all: “it will make  your life a whole lot easier,” especially as you are juggling all the deadlines the end of the semester brings with it.

Trust me (and the several students I’ve helped over the past two days), taking the 15 to 20 minutes to follow the directions below result in a big time saving for you.  One student’s comment was “How did I not know about this before?”

Once you add your sources to Zotero, you can use it to create the final bibliography (with a tweak from you) and your in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes without adding stress to your writing process.

You’ll need the following software:

  • Firefox web browser
  • Zotero plug in for Firefox
  • Zotero word processor plug ins (for Word for MS Office or Macs, or Open Office)

all of these are available from the Zotero guide’s Home Page.

Follow the directions in the Zotero Guide to:

  • Create a free Zotero account (which will let you syncronize your library regardless of what computer you’re working on)
  • Create a “Collection” folder for the paper you are working on and be sure to have that folder highlighted in your list of folders (even if its the only one for now).

After you do these things, gather your list of books, articles, websites, blog posts, etc.  It’s helpful to sort them by type of source (book, journal article, web site, etc.).

Next, you’ll search for the books, articles, and web pages, etc. which you used in your paper.  For this you’ll need to use BearCat (for the books), the various journal article databases (like EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete), and Firefox (for websites you used) to find then add each source to the Zotero collections folder.  Look at the Zotero guide’s tab “Saving Citations” for directions on this.

  • Check each citation as it is added to Zotero to be sure that the title or some other part of the information isn’t in all capitals or has some other quirk.  You can change these “errors” in the entry for each item so that you won’t have to change each citation or bibliography entry individually
  • Choose and set your citation style preference to MLA, APA, Chicago, or whatever style your paper needs to be written in

Now you can add in your in-text citations, footnotes, etc., and your bibliography.  No matter how many items you have in your Zotero folder for this paper, the final bibliography will include only the items you’ve included as citations in your paper.

The only final task you’ll need to do manually is to make sure you place your bibliography on a separate page and give it the proper heading name for the citation style you are using (Works Cited, References, Bibliography, etc.).

See below for some videos on how to get your resources into Zotero as well as how to cite and create bibliographies for your paper.