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Zotero at Swarthmore

Information for Swarthmore affiliates about using Zotero for research and citation management

Introduction to Zotero

Zotero is a tool for organizing, citing, and annotating your readings and other research materials.

The Swarthmore Libraries now subscribe to Zotero Institution. Current Swarthmore users now have unlimited cloud storage for documents in Zotero. You'll have access to this storage as long as you have a current email account.

If you already have a Zotero account, add your email to your account to access free storage.

How can you use Zotero?

  •  Create a folder for each of your courses and keep track of your reading assignments
  •  Save sources for your final papers and cite them in APA, MLA, etc.
  •  Make a Zotero Group for your lab or project team
  •  Read, highlight, annotate, and organize your readings - all in one place

Support is available. Ask a subject librarian for help with Zotero or email

Zotero at Swarthmore

Installing the Zotero Desktop App and Connector

  1. Go to
  2. Download the desktop app for your system (Mac/Windows) by clicking the button on the left. Install the app.
  3. Download the Zotero Connector for your browser by clicking the button on the right.
  • Firefox, Chrome, and Edge users: install the Zotero Connector
  • Safari users: No need to install a separate Connector, it's automatically included when you install Zotero for Mac.

zotero desktop app and browser connector are linked through your account

Enabling the Zotero Connector in Google Chrome

  1. Download the Zotero Connector for Chrome
  2. Pin the extension to your toolbar by clicking the extension icon on the top right of your Chrome window. Click the pushpin icon next to the Zotero Connector.

Error message? You may encounter an error when installing Zotero Connector for Chrome. If this happens, sign out of your Swarthmore Google account and then install the Connector. You can sign back into your Swarthmore account after installing.

screenshot pinning extension in chrome

Enabling the Zotero Connector in Safari

  1. Download the Zotero Connector
  2. Open Safari settings by clicking "Safari" on the top left menu bar and then clicking "Settings..."
  3. Navigate to the "Extensions Tab"
  4. Find the Zotero Connector and click on it
  5. Click the checkbox next to Zotero Connector to enable
  6. Click "Always Allow on Every Website"

screenshot of safari connector process described in text

screenshot of enabling safari extension

Creating Zotero Account for the First Time

  1. Go to Zotero's website
  2. Choose "Log in" in the upper right corner.
  3. Select "Register for a free account"
  4. Register using your email
  5. Consider also adding a non-Swarthmore email. This way you'll be able to access Zotero even if you lose access to your Swarthmore email account.

screenshot creating zotero account


Adding Your @Swarthmore Email

  1. Go to Zotero's website
  2. Choose "Log in" in the upper right corner.
  3. Log in to your existing account.
  4. Go into "Settings," then choose the "Account" tab
  5. Under "Manage Email Addresses," add your email address

Consider adding personal (non-Swarthmore) email as well, in case you lose access to your Swarthmore email.

screenshot adding swarthmore email to zotero account


Connect Your Account and Enable Data & File Syncing

  1. Open the Zotero Desktop App (Mac/PC)
  2. Open the Zotero Settings/Preferences menu
  3. Navigate to the "Sync" tab
  4. To connect your account, enter your Zotero username and password.
  5. To enable syncing, click the checkmark boxes on the following:
    • Data Syncing
      • ☑ Sync automatically
      • ☑ Sync full-text content
    • File Syncing
      • ☑ Sync attachment files in My Library using Zotero
      • ☑ Sync attachment files in group libraries using Zotero
      • Do you need to save storage space on your computer? Set "Download files" to "as needed." (Otherwise, leave the default: "at sync time.")
  6. Close Settings/Preferences to save

screenshot of sync preferences described in text

Turn off proxy redirection

Zotero's proxy redirection feature can cause you to have problems accessing Kanopy, The Atlantic, and other library resources that use Swarthmore's single sign-on to login.

Who does this apply to? When you install the Zotero Connector for Chrome or Firefox, proxy redirection gets enabled by default. (Safari users don't need to worry about this.)

How do you turn off proxy redirection?

  1. Open the Zotero extension settings in Chrome or Firefox.
  2. Go to the Proxies tab.
  3. Uncheck the box next to "Enable proxy redirection"