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Research Guides

Writing & Citing in Engineering

Zotero Workshop

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a free open-source tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research. Not only can Zotero simplify your citations, it can also help you organize your reading notes.

Periodically, we offer workshops to orient students to using Zotero. This page presents the material that we generally cover in our Zotero workshops. This workshop assumes no prior knowledge of Zotero. We will adjust the content of the workshop based on the size and experience of a group.

Workshop Resources

  • The library has created a Zotero guide that we reference throughout this workshop. See UTL's Zotero Guide.
  • We also recommend the official documentation and forum on Here you'll find detailed support as well as answers to advanced user questions.

Workshop Objectives

This workshop will focus on helping you:

  • Save full-text references in Zotero from many different sources (e.g. in Zotero, Firefox or Chrome)
  • Generate citations and bibliographies using Zotero, Google, or MS Word
  • Organize and sync your Zotero library
  • Use groups to share your research and collaborate with colleagues

Workshop Schedule

  1. Workshop Overview
  2. Live Zotero Demonstration
  3. Installing Zotero
  4. Saving Citations
  5. Creating Bibliographies
  6. Syncing and Group Libraries
  7. Workshop Wrap-up

1. Workshop Overview

Review workshop schedule and participant goals.

2. Live Zotero Demonstration

A 5-minute demonstration to show you what Zotero can do, and why it might be helpful to you. There is a live demo during the workshop, but you can also reference this live demonstration (YouTube video) by Jason Puckett, of Georgia State University Library.

3. Installing Zotero

Alongside Zotero (a desktop program), you will also need to install the Connectors, or browser plug-in, to allow your browser to save items to your Zotero library. See Installing Zotero (UTL LibGuide) for instructions. Both the desktop Zotero client as well as browser connectors can be downloaded ( from


Install and open Zotero before workshop so that you will be able to complete the activities yourself, alongside the instructor.

4. Saving Citations

Before creating a bibliography, you will need to save some references in Zotero. Zotero is able to save any reference you require for your work, including journal articles, web pages, audio recordings, and many more. Zotero allows you to add references information manually, but it also includes many features that speed up this process. Read more about Saving Citations (UTL LibGuide).


We will demonstrate 4 different ways that citations can be saved into Zotero. You can complete each activity alongside the instructor using your copy of Zotero.

  1. Save a single journal article through the library catalogue, using the Zotero Connector in your internet browser.
  2. Save multiple journal articles at once through the library catalogue, using the Zotero Connector in your internet browser.
  3. Attach a PDF in Zotero (drag and drop). Zotero will automatically search for information about the PDF. Try it out with this OpenAccess article from U of T Professor Doug Reeves: Curricular and Co-curricular Leadership Learning for Engineering Students - (download PDF)
  4. Use the magic wand to add an item directly in Zotero using a unique ID (e.g. DOI, ISBN, or arXiv ID). Try loading the same article as above, from Professor Doug Reeves, but this time using its DOI:

5. Creating Bibliographies

Once you have added references into Zotero, it becomes simple to insert citations and create a bibliography as you write. Zotero can be accessed directly from word processors like Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. If you use another text editor, chances are that someone has created a Plugin for Zotero (Zotero Documentation). Read more about creating bibliographies (UTL LibGuide).


For this activity you will need to open a new document in either Word, LibreOffice, or Google Docs. We will demonstrate 2 different methods of creating bibliographies and citations in a word processor.

  1. 'Copy-Paste' - Quick bibliographies. This method requires you to copy/paste citations and bibliography entries manually (this is the process we followed in the live demo). To create a quick bibliography, highlight items you would like to cite, right click and select the "Create Bibliography from item...". Select the preferred citation style, select the bibliography option and then Copy to Clipboard. Paste in your word document and you have created a bibliography.
  2. 'Cite-while-you-write' - Using Zotero's word processor plugins. With this method, Zotero keeps track of which items you have cited in your writing and automatically generates an up-to-date bibliography. For this activity, we will be using Microsoft Word, but the process is similar for the other word processors.

6. Syncing and Groups

If time permits, we will look Zotero's cloud storage features as well as groups. Both these features require users to register for a free user account. The account incudes 300 mb of cloud storage. We feel comfortable recommending that you sign up for a Zotero account, but we encourage you to first review Zotero's privacy and data security policies.

"Our philosophy is that what you put into Zotero is yours, and one of our founding principles is to make sure you remain in control of your data and can share it how you like — or choose not to share it at all."
-Zotero's Privacy Policy


Do you often work on different computers? Zotero can store a copy of your library online so that you can access it anywhere. Once you sync your library it can be access online through or on any desktop computer that has Zotero (all library computers do!). Instructions on how to use Zotero Sync (UTL LibGuide).


If you're collaborating on research or coursework together, Zotero Groups allows you to share collections, PDFs and notes with shared groups. Read more about Zotero Groups (UTL LibGuide).

7. Workshop Wrap-up

This workshop provided a brief overview of the basic features of Zotero. Beyond creating bibliographies, Zotero can help you in your research process. As we finish this workshop, please take a moment to consider what your next steps are for working with Zotero. Not sure? Here are some ideas:

  • This workshop has provided enough information, I don't need anything else.
  • I have tons of articles on a bunch of different topics and can't remember which I have and haven't read! I need to talk about how to organize them so that my research is more manageable. Can we talk about some organization features in Zotero?
  • I'm a Zotero convert and I want to see how I can integrate Zotero with my daily workflows. Can the library help?

For questions or feedback about this Zotero workshop, please contact Peter Farrell (Graduate Student Library Assistant)



Mendeley Workshop

This is a guide to the material that is covered in the Mendeley workshop/webinar.


Before the Workshop

Throughout the workshop, there will be some exercises for you to practice using Mendeley. Please complete the following steps before the workshop:

  1. Go to and create an account
  2. Download Mendeley Desktop from
  3. Install the Citation Plugin for Microsoft Word or Libre Office. Ensure that your word processor is closed before attempting to install the plugin. There will be a pop-up prompting you to install it once you have opened Mendeley Desktop. You can also open the Tools menu at the top of the program to install it (please see the image on

Also remember to fill out the quick pre-survey that was sent to you for us to know a little bit more about your expectations for the workshop and your experience.


Workshop Overview

  • Introduction 
  • Mendeley Web
  • Mendeley Desktop
  • Citation Plugin
  • Questions 


Introduction to Mendeley

Mendeley is a free citation management tool and academic social network that is used to:

  • Generate citations and bibliographies
  • Collaborate with others
  • Discover articles in your research area
  • Store and retrieve papers

It is for users who work extensively with PDFs and value social networking for sharing and discovering.

To find out more about how Mendeley is different from other citation management tools, please see


Mendeley Web

Mendeley Web is mainly used for connecting researchers. You can:

  • Get updates from personal network
  • Maintain your Mendeley profile
  • Review your personal publication statistics
  • Search and collect papers and references
  • Find and connect with researchers
  • Create and join collaborative research groups
  • Organize references
  • Receive suggestions for papers to read

A step-by-step walkthrough of Mendeley Web will be demonstrated.

Practice Exercise:

  1. Who is the author of the paper “A numerical scheme to calculate temperature and salinity dependent air-water transfer velocities for any gas?” 
  2. What is the h-index (impact measure) of the paper’s author?
  3. How many readers did the author have in 2015 according to Mendeley?


Mendeley Desktop

Mendeley Desktop is for knowledge production and management. You can:

  • Add and organize documents
  • Find and import new content
  • Read, highlight and annotate
  • Sync and store data on Mendeley servers

A live tutorial of how to perform these actions on Mendeley Desktop will be shown.

Practice Exercise:

  1. Create a new folder
  2. Add an article of your own to the folder or download an article to use such as or
  3. Make sure the details are correct and add tags to the article
  4. Highlight a section of text in the article and add a comment


Citation Plugin

The Citation Plugin is for Microsoft Word or Libre Office. Please note that you must have Mendeley Desktop installed to use the Citation Plugin. You can:

  • Insert citations from your Mendeley Library 
  • Choose from many citation styles
  • Automatically generate a bibliography
  • Share documents with Mendeley users

A demonstration of how to use the Citation Plugin will be given.

Practice Exercise:

  1. Insert the in-text citation of the article that you added to your library 
  2. Insert a bibliography
  3. Change the citation style to IEEE


Need Additional Help?

  • Help guides:
  • Help sessions are also available. To book a session, please fill out the feedback survey that will be sent to you after the workshop



Elsevier. (2020). About Mendeley. Retrieved from

Mendeley. (2019). Guides. Retrieved from

University of Michigan Library. (2020). Mendeley Basics: Overview. Retrieved from

University of Toronto Libraries. (2019). Citation management: Comparison table. Retrieved from


For questions about this workshop, please contact Peter Farrell (Engineering and Computer Science Library Graduate Student Library Assistant).