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Reference managers are easy-to-use tools that can help you collect, organize, cite, and share research sources. This guide will explain how to install Zotero and Mendeley.

Adding a PDF file

Sometimes you need to add an article on your desktop to Zotero.  This easily done by dragging and dropping the PDF file from your desktop to the center window of Zotero. 

However, to use the article to create bibliographies or "write and cite," you will need to create a parent item that contains metadata (e.g. title, author, date). 

Retrieve Metadata from PDF

How to add a parent item and metadata to a PDF file you "dragged and dropped."

There are two ways to add metadata to a PDF file that you have imported into Zotero. Both ways will create the entry and automatically attach your PDF file.  Any notes attached to the PDF will not be lost.

Note:  To retrieve the metadata from a PDF file it cannot be a file of scanned images, such as articles obtained through ILLiad or pages scanned from a print journal. You will have to follow the steps to manually enter the data with these files.

  1. Retrieve PDF Metadata from a PDF file: 
    • highlight a PDF file you have imported
    • right click and select the "Retrieve PDF Metadata" option. 
      • The first time you select this option you will be asked if you want to install the special plugin.  This plugin uses the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) to search Google Scholar and creates the metadata record. 
  2. Manually enter the metadata:
    • highlight a PDF file you have imported
    • right click and select "Create Parent Item" option
    • manually enter the metadata