Using Zotero for Genealogy Research

Most genealogists haven’t heard of the very useful bibliography tool, Zotero.zotero_logo  I was among that group until colleengreene+ introduced me to it a few months ago.

.Quoting from the Zotero site, it “is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.  It lives right where you do your work – in the web browser itself”

The statement isn’t wrong.  Zotero is has become one of my most used research tools.

Zotero is installed as a plugin if you use Firefox and as a standalone app if you use other browsers.  To install,Zotero, click on the Download Now button the the Zotero site and choose the version that fits your operating system and the web browser you use.

Let’s look at a few examples of how Zotero is used and how it can help you.

After Zotero is installed, you’ll see the Zotero copy icon appear when you are on pages that can be copied to your Zotero collections in one click.  It looks the same in any browser as witnessed in first Chrome and secondly in Firefox.





When you first install Zotero, you’ll want to create some collections for the topics you are researching.




When you want to save an item to Zotero, simply highlight the name of the collection and then click on the icon in the address bar in your browser.




The full bibliography for the item is then added to the highlighted collection.  As an example, let’s look at the title, “The house of Gordon” in my collection.

Clicking on the title populates the right frame in the Zotero window. where the full bibliography of the title is displayed.




All the fields were populated when you clicked on the Zotero icon in the address field of your browser.  Note that you can add notes, tags and related entries to the item.

Exporting the bibliography into your documents is done with a right click on the title name, then choosing the citation style you want.  The Citation Style tool will automatically convert the citation into any format including the long list of standard styles used in most scholarly documents.  If none of the styles on the list match your need, you can create your own and save it to the citation style library.

You can output the data as a note or as a bibliography in RTF, HTML formats, as a copy to your clipboard or as a printout.



In the case of the Gordon book, the bibliography is lengthy and of enough complexity that most of us would introduce typos into it.  That issue is completely eliminated with Zotero.




The bibliographic export to a document looks like this:




All of that from one click that added the title to your Zotero collection.  

As I noted, I’m still new to the Zotero community but have already become an evangelist for it.  After listening to professional scientific researchers, students and other users who include it as one of their primary research tools and would fight anyone trying to take it away, I’ve wondered why I hadn’t found it long ago. 

Try it in your own research and documentation.  I’m confident that you’ll like it.


Make Bibliography Citations with Zotero


Zotero–Creating Bibliographies. Turn the sound down if the background sound it bothers you.


Using Zotero


Zotero–Other Uses
Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2012-11-26 08:00:00
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avatar lineagekeeper 26 November 201212:54 pm

The genealogy community needs a few Zotero translators written. Do any of you have the skills? Read about developing translators at:

Zotero translators


About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.