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How to Do Research: A Step-By-Step Guide: 5b. Zotero & EasyBib

How to do research

Using Bibliographic Citation Managers

Use time-saving, Web-based citation management tools like Zotero, or EasyBib (at to organize, store, and format citations in works cited lists or bibliographies. Each tool has collaboration features for working on joint projects. See the boxes below for information about features and functionality.

Log into your Zotero or EasyBib account, and leave the tool open on your desktop.

From Library Search:

  • Perform your search and find the item you need
  • Click on the title of the item you need from your results list
  • Select Export from the Tools list on the right sidebar
  • In Export Manager, click on the radio button for the format you need for your citation management tool
  • The citation should migrate directly into your citation management tool

From other Online Databases:

  • Perform your search and select the item you need
  • Look at the page for an Export or Save tool (most databases have this feature)
  • Select the appropriate format, and export the citation

If there is no option for EasyBib (for example)

  • Save or download the citation in a RIS file
  • Go to your Citation Management tool and browse for the file

Import into EasyBib:

  • Go to Bibliography, then the "All 59 Options" tab
  • Under "Other", select Upload / Database Import
  • Browse for the .ris file you saved or downloaded, then upload the file

WARNING: Always proofread citations made by citation tools, especially punctuation and capitalization. See the style guides from the drop-down menu on this page.

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Zotero is a free, easy-to-use citation management tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It can be used as a Firefox extension, or a standalone version. You can easily download either version to your personal computer. (NOTE: Zotero is not installed on GTL computers.) Zotero automatically creates both in-text and bibliographic citations, supporting all the major styles (Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.) as well as a great many journal-specific styles. This tool allows you to:

  • gather citation information from web sites
  • organize citations into folders
  • take and save notes on your stored resources
  • save the full text of articles
  • create in-text citations, foot  notes, or end notes
  • create citations for your bibliography
  • syncs your data with other computers or devices
  • share resources with a group when collaborating on a project

For more information about Zotero features, and downloading instructions, see the Zotero Quick Start Guide.

Using EasyBib

EasyBib offers citation help for MLA, APA, and Chicago, and 6 other formats for many types of resources. Create a free EasyBib account at the EasyBib sign-up page, then log in at the EasyBib login page. With EasyBib, you can:

  • set up multiple projects
  • create or import citations
  • keep a notebook for each project
  • take notes for each resource you use
  • get help writing a thesis statement
  • create an outline for your project
  • create parenthetical (in-text) citations
  • create an annotated bibliography
  • format your bibliography and title page in the prescribed style
  • share files with others when collaborating on a project

Importing citations into EasyBib is covered above. You can also search within EasyBib for the citation you need. If the book or article is in EasyBib's vast knowledge base, it will automatically create the citation for you. Just check to see that the edition is correct. See EasyBib's User Guides for additional information.