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Reference management tools: Share and store references

Share references

Don't hog your references! With the help of Zotero you can share them with your fellow students and colleagues. Create a shared reference collection - useful e.g. when you're co-writing an article.

With the ability to comment and annotate references and full text articles together, your joint work will see rapid progress. By creating an account on Zotero's website you'll be able to create groups. You decide if your groups are open or closed, and what access rights to give members. You can also join groups created by others.

You link your web account with your Zotero database by adding your account information in the database. Choose Edit - Preferences - Sync.

Teaching staff, look here!
Gather the references you use in teaching in one or many folders and share these with your students. Convenient, right?


Tip! If you register on Zotero.org, use your ÅAU email adress. If ÅAU decides on getting a campus license, it will work only with the ÅAU email.

Backing up your library

It's a good idea to regularly back up your library, even when you have synchronization in use. You do this by going to Edit -> Preferences in the Zotero database. Choose the Advanced section, and Files And Folders under that. In the second field you'll find a button saying Show Data Directory.

Click it, and a folder containing all the Zotero data opens, the address probably being C:\Users\username\Zotero. Now close Zotero down because having it open while tampering with the data may cause corruption. Copy all the files and folders in that folder.

Create a folder where you want to back up your files: a flash drive, ÅAU's home network, OneDrive, etc. Paste in the files and folders, and you've created a backup! Adding the date in the folder's name is always a good idea so you'll know when you've done your latest backup. Try to remember to do this regularly, e.g. the first or last every month.

Restoring your library

If you're having problems with your Zotero library, you may need to restore it using your backup. Here's how to go about it:

Go to the Data Directory as described above. Create a temporary new folder on your desktop. Pick the files zotero.sqlite and storage from the data directory, and move them to the temporary folder.

Open your backup folder, choose the same files there, and copy them to the data directory. You Zotero library should now be working again, and you can delete the temporary file.

More information on and alternatives for restoring, Zotero website.

Syncronizing data and files

This is not relevant if you are making use of the institutional license and have the unlimited storage space it provides! 

You can save an unlimited amount of data (items) and files (PDFs) locally, but if you need to synchronize files, Zotero's limit for the basic plan is 300 Mb. There are free third party solutions for this in the form of WebDAV's. (More information on syncing in Zotero.)

The library does not recommend saving PDF's in Zotero as they are what eats up the storage space!

You can also install the Zotfile plugin and save your files in ÅAU's OneDrive through it. Attn! Right-click the Download link and choose Save As, instead of clicking Download!

  • When you've downloaded Zotfile, create a Zotero folder in your ÅAU OneDrive.
  • Open Zotero and go to Tools -> Add-ons. Click the cogwheel, select Install Add-on from File.

  • Search for the installation file (.xpi) and Zotero takes care of the rest.
  • When Zotfile is installed, go to Tools. Select Zotfile Preferences.
  • In the Generel Settings tab, under Location of Files, go to Custom Location and search the folder you've created in OneDrive.
  • Now all the files you attach to Zotero should be saved in your OneDrive! If you have saved files previously in Zotero: right-click the file, select Manage Attachments -> Rename Attachment. The file is then moved to the folder you've created.

Please keep in mind that OneDrive is a commercial cloud service with servers in USA, and observe ÅAU's instructions on storage!