Zotero is a powerful, user-friendly bibliographic reference manager software. It helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources, and then cite them perfectly formatted in to papers in any major style format. Optionally, you can share the results of your research either globally or with a group you select, such as a cohort of students or academic department.
Zotero is pre-installed in UberStudent as both a standalone application in conjunction with Chromium (pre-installed in UberStudent) and Google Chrome, as well as as a Firefox extension (also pre-installed in UberStudent). In UberStudent, both LibreOffice Writer and the LyX Document Processor (both pre-installed in UberStudent) are configured to accept managed citations from Zotero.
Before the advent of bibliographic reference manager software, researchers had to tediously format their references by hand. Those days are forever gone. The first full-featured bibliographic reference manager software was probably NotaBene, which was initially released in 1982 and ran on Microsoft DOS. That was right around the time that computers began to displace typewriters. Today, some iteration or another of bibliographic reference manager software is a completely standard tool among researchers and students worldwide.
Zotero is one of the best and most widely used bibliographic reference manager softwares in existence. It is developed by George Mason University. It is a cross-platform application, so you can get your work done no matter which computer you are using. If you create a Zotero sync account (free), your references and notes are available anywhere and everywhere you do computing with Internet access.
Create a Zotero Account
The first thing you should do after installing Zotero is create a Zotero account and set up your Zotero installation in its preferences to sync your references and documents to the Zotero servers. This serves as not only your first-line backup, but a way to work with Zotero across multiple computers, platforms, and locations.
Backing Up Your Zotero Database
You should still make redundant backups of your Zotero folders, however. Please see The "Three Rs" of Backups for some good basic information to get you started.
Configuration and Updates
In UberStudent, Zotero is otherwise ready-to-go, configured to "just work" in its pre-installed state. The default installation contains plugins for working with documents in LibreOffice Writer and the LyX Document Processor. It is also already set up to index your PDF files and extract information from them so you can search them inside of Zotero. An exception regarding configuration is the LyX Document Processor: you may need to set the path to your particular home folder inside the program.
All updates of Zotero and its components are handled by the UberStudent Update Manager. Just run it to get the latest stable updates. You are strongly discouraged from updating in any other way.
Following are tutorials for using Zotero:
- Zotero Quick Start Guide - video presentation by the Zotero developers
- Zotero Tutorials - series of video tutorials by addictiveknowledge, each video devoted to a specific task
- Zotero User Guide - detailed info by the Zotero developers