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Interdisciplinary Research for Law Students and Faculty: Saving Information

This guide provides instruction on the process of finding books and scholarly articles for MU School of Law students and faculty.

Using Zotero

Ellis Library also has a thorough guide on using Zotero to organize your research.



Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself.

Downloading Zotero

1.         Open Firefox browser

2.         Go to Tools > Add-Ons

3.         Click Get Add-Ons

4.         Search for Zotero > Select Zotero from list

5.         Click Add to Firefox button

6.         Click Install Now

7.         Restart Firefox to add changes. Zotero now lives at the bottom of the browser


Using Zotero

Zotero has put together a comprehensive Quick Start Guide at .


1.      If items are in the wrong collection, pick them up and drag them to the correct collection.  A copy will remain in the original collection.  To take them out of the original collection, click “Remove Selected Item” rather than “Delete Selected Item from Library.”  Deleting them puts them in the trash can and will take them out of all your collections.

2.      The best feature of Zotero must be manually turned on in the preferences after installing: “Automatically attach associated PDFs…when saving items.” After activating this feature, if you download a set of search results from a site, you also get the full PDFs of the papers in one step. Then you can read them offline, in a coffee shop, airplane, wherever.  To turn this on, go to Actions (gear symbol) > Preferences.  I did notice that this does not always work uniformly (for example when searching Westlaw, it didn’t grab pdf’s of cases even though they were attached.  To get around this, you’ll want to save the pdf’s to your computer then attach them to your citation.

Questions you may be asking yourself

How does Zotero work in Lexis?

Zotero will not “sense” content in Lexis, but content can still be added. 

  1. Find the information  you need in Lexis.  Open Zotero.
  2. Click the Create New Item from Current Page Button.
  3. In the information column on the right, use the drop down menu to select the type of resource you are adding (ie case, statute, etc.)
  4. Fill in the information not gathered by Zotero.

How does Zotero work in Westlaw?

As with Lexis, Zotero will not “sense” content in Westlaw, but content can still be added.  Follow the same procedure as with Lexis.  Zotero will not automatically save pdfs found in Westlaw.  To keep them, save them to your computer.  In Zotero, open the item you want to associate the pdf with.C  lick on the Attachments tab in the 3rd column and attach the pdf.

How do I manually add a bibliographic item?

You can also manually add items to your collection by clicking on the green circle with a plus icon above the middle column, selecting the appropriate item type, and filling in the bibliographic details in the right column. New items will appear in the “My Library” folder and can be organized into other folders.

Can Zotero use Bluebook citations?

Zotero has created a Bluebook Law Review citation style.  You’ll need to download it into Zotero as it is not there by default.  To do this, go to Actions (gear symbol) > Preferences >Styles >Get Additional Styles > Bluebook Law Review.  Click Install.

How do I make a bibliography?

Method 1 – drag and drop

  1. First, go to Actions (gear symbol) > Preferences > Export > Change Your Default Output Format to Bluebook Law Review.
  2. With Zotero open, drag citation from Zotero and drop it into the word processing document of your choice (Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, WordPerfect, Google Docs).

Method 2 – Use the Microsoft Word plug-ins

  1. Get the plug-ins here:
  2. The plug-in has the added bonus of allowing you to add in-text citations.

Method 3 – Create a bibliography in Zotero and copy it into a document

  1. Select resources in Zotero for your bibliography.  Use the Ctrl button to select multiple sources.
  2. Right click on one selected source.  Select create bibliography.
  3. Choose the style for the sources and copy to the clipboard.
  4. Paste bibliography into your word processing document.

How do I sync Zotero with other machines? 

By default, Zotero lives on the computer you downloaded it to.  It is possible to sync multiple machines.  You’ll find information on syncing at .   At the moment, Zotero will allow you to sync all your notes and links, but doesn’t allow access to the associated files like pdfs.  An easier and cleaner solution might be to use Remote Desktop to access your work computer remotely.  Check with the IT Help Desk if you need help with setting this up.

How do I back up my work?

To back up your Zotero library, make sure Firefox is closed. Then copy your Zotero data directory to a backup location, preferably on another data storage device. You can locate the data directory by going to the Zotero preferences under the Actions (gear icon) menu and clicking “Show data directory” in the Advanced pane. The Zotero data directory holds both your database and all the related files and attachments (images, PDFs, webpages, etc.).

As with all important data, it is a good idea to back up your Zotero data frequently.

Using Endnote

Endnote is freely available to students.  Ellis Library has a guide for using Endnote at

Warning: According to the EndNote website EndNote X3 is incompatible with Word 2010 and causes error in Word if installed.   You may want to consider either putting off upgrading your Word program until MU gets access to EndNote X4, or using an alternate software such as Zotero, which is compatible with Word 2010.

Subject Guide

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Cindy Bassett
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Subjects: Law