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Zotero for document management

October 5, 2015

Although I often suggest to students that they use the computer application Zotero specifically for citation management, I personally use it to manage and store all the documents that I create at work.

Besides citations, Zotero can save, store, and relate documents of any kind. When you create a record/citation in Zotero, you can attach the document to its record/citation by right-clicking the record/citation and choosing “Attach document>Attach stored copy of file”. Once you have attached the file, you can retrieve the file from Zotero’s storage space by double-clicking its record/citation.

So when I begin a new document at work…

1- I immediately create a record/citation for that document in Zotero;

2- I close and save the document in my “Downloads” folder;

3- I then right click the record/citation in Zotero and choose “Attach document>Attach stored copy of file” so that Zotero stores the document with the record within its system;

4- I click on the document record/citation in Zotero in order to reopen my document. [It is now safe to delete the document in the “Downloads” folder.]

Once a record has been created, you can add tags to it to associate it with subject terms. Zotero provides the user with a list of all subject headings used. And Zotero provides the user with the capability to associate the record with other records by using the “Related” tab.

Zotero also allows you to create your own file system, just as would in your computer’s file system.

If you forget where you put the document, Zotero provides a search box. But you can also sort the records by its various fields to find it by browsing through the sorted fields.

And Zotero automatically backs up all its records and their associated documents [you have to choose the option to include the associated documents] in a 2GB storage space that they provide free to all Zotero users. All the records and documents are then available to the user from the Zotero website, so it makes it easy to access your documents anywhere you find an internet browser.

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