Reference Managers: Finishing Up


  • Notes [Zotero Documentation]. (2017). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from Notes - Zotero
  • PDF reader [Zotero Documentation]. (2022). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from PDF - Zotero
  • Creating bibliographies [Zotero Documentation]. (2018). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from Bibliographies - Zotero
  • Word processor integration [Zotero Documentation]. (2018). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from Word Processors - Zotero
  • Styles [Zotero Documentation]. (2017). Retrieved August 3, 2022, from Styles Zotero


At this point you should have built up a decent collection of information sources in your Zotero library for your Wikipedia project. You may have even been using it for your other courses, too, and if not, then start! If you need to collect more sources for your Wikipedia article, this is the time to do it. Revisit the previous sections to remind yourself about the existing sources that exist on the web and at the library, and to remind yourself how to search those sources.

In the remaining weeks of this course, your final goal is to edit your chosen Wikipedia articles based on the information resources you've collected.

In order to prepare for the Wikipedia edit, it's time to return to your Zotero collection. You should have been reading the sources you've collected, and taking notes on them in Zotero. Now is a good time to get caught up and add (more) notes or refine and edit them and synthesize them in order to know where to add your citations to your Wikipedia articles.

Zotero and other reference managers offer a number of tools to help with this process. As a reminder, you can use your Zotero browser plugin to automatically add information sources to your Zotero library. You can store those sources in folders in your Zotero library. A folder can be project based. You can also tag each information source for more organization. You can highlight and add notes to PDF copies in Zotero.

In the section below, I will discuss ways to export your work to a word processor program and how to edit your Wikipedia article.

Integrating with Word Processors

Although our main project this semester is to edit a Wikipedia article, in most cases you will want to work on papers in a word processing program like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or LibreOffice Writer.

Zotero is able to work with the above three word processors. Mendeley and EndNote are primarily geared toward Microsoft Word, and if you elected to use those two RMs, then reach out to your instructor, or search the web, for guidance on using these with those Google Docs or LibreOffice Writer, if you use those, too.

Using Zotero with Word, Docs, or Writer is straightforward. The necessary plugins are already installed when you installed Zotero Desktop, and additional instructions are available, too.

You'll want to use Zotero as you write papers, etc. to insert in-text citations and bibliographies. While Zotero or other reference managers can handle this automatically, you should still review your in-text citations and bibliographies to check for any data errors. If there are errors, it's likely because the item in Zotero is missing metadata for some fields (like author, title, journal title, publication date, etc.). This happens because the source information Zotero extracts metadata from may be incomplete or malformed.

With Zotero, you can add in-text citations like: (Smith, 2007) or (Chan, 2018, p. 144) or "Garcia (2020) stated ...". You can also generate bibliographies using many different styles, like APA, MLA, Chicago, and so forth. Zotero will auto-update the bibliography in your document as you add more in-text citations. To set a default style, in Zotero, click on the Edit button in the Zotero menu bar, select Preferences, click on the Cite tab, and then choose your default style, which will most likely be one of these:

  • American Psychological Association 7th edition
  • Chicago Manual of Style edition (author-date or full note)
  • Modern Language Association 9th edition
  • American Medical Association 11th edition

While the preferences window is open, there are two more things to set. First, click on the Export tab, and under Item Format, select Wikipedia Citation Templates from the drop down menu. This will come in handy when you edit your Wikipedia article.

Second, click on the Advanced tab, and then click on the drop down menu under the OperURL section, and scroll down until you find University of Kentucky. This will enable Zotero to retrieve full text items through InfoKat.

Using Zotero and a Word Processor

Once you've set up some basic preferences, you can start writing in your preferred word processor.

Zotero will add a new tab in Microsoft Word, or new toolbar items if you're using Google Docs or LibreOffice Word. You can use these new functions to add in-text citations, to extract and insert Zotero notes for items, and a bibliography.


In this section, I covered the basics of integrating Zotero with your word processor. Although the basics are pretty straightforward, given the variety of options you have available to you, you may need to refer to the Zotero documentation for additional help.