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Creating Records Manually

Sometimes you may need to create Zotero records manually, rather than pull record information from a database. (For example, sometimes Zotero can't read data from certain databases; this happens most frequently with dictionary and encyclopedia articles.) To create a record, take the following steps:

Click on the green circle with the white plus sign in it and select the appropriate type of source (book, journal article, etc.).

Manually fill in the needed fields.

Add fields by clicking the plus signs, and change the fields by clicking the down arrow beside the field name. (For example, click on the plus sign to the right of Author to add an additional field and then select Editor to add editor information.)

NOTE: If a work has both author(s) and editor(s), it doesn't matter what order you enter them into the Zotero record. They'll come out correctly in your citation.

Essential Citation Information to Include

If you are manually creating records yourself, here is the information you need to be sure to include for correct citations. The rest of the information doesn't necessarily need to be filled out:



Publisher place

Journal Articles
Title of article
TItle of journal (Publication)
Issue (if available)

Title of webpage
Author (can use the organization)
Website title (can use organization unless used for the author)
Publication or revision date (use n.d. if there is no date listed)
Date accessed (include if there was no pulication or revision date)

Book Chapters or Sections
Title of chapter
Author of chapter
Book author or editor
Book title
Place of publication
Page numbers for chapter


Creating Records from Item Identifiers

In the Zotero app, you can also add records by item identifiers, such as ISBN (international standard book number) for books, DOI (digital object identifier) for journal articles, PMID (PubMed identification) for medical journal articles, or ArXiv ID ( identification numbers) for articles in science and engineering.

To add a record by an identifier, make sure you've highlighted the collection to which you want to add the record, then click the "Quick Add" icon (magic wand with the plus symbol), type/paste in the appropriate number, and hit Enter.

Creating Records from Other Records

If you are using an edited volume (where each chapter has a different author), you'll need to have a separate record for each chapter you use. However, Zotero will only import the record for the whole book. To create the appropriate records, take the following steps.Right-click on the title of the entire book, and select "Duplicate Record."

Zotero Item Record

Click on the item type and change it to "Book Section."

Zotero Item Type

You'll see a warning notification, letting you know that you'll lose your page numbers when you switch the item type. Click OK; you'll add those back in a future step.

Change Type Notification

You'll notice that when you change the type of item, its icon changes. Now, instead of a closed book you have an open one.

In the new record, the "Title" field will be blank. (The book's title is now in the "Book Title" field.) Add the title of the chapter or essay here.

Zotero Add Title

Click on the Plus icon after the final editor's name; this will add a new field. By clicking on the title of the newly-created "Editor" field you can change it to "Author" (among other options). Add the author's name, family name first. If the author only has one name or it's a corporate author, click on the single field icon beside the author's name to change the field type.

Zotero Add Author

Add the page numbers of the beginning and the end of the chapter to the "Pages" field.

Zotero Add Page Numbers

You now have a new record! (If you need to add multiple chapters from the same book, simply locate the original book record in your list and repeat these steps.)