There are few jobs more tedious that manually citing journal articles. Happily, Zotero makes it very easy to add PDFs to your library and then automatically retrieve the bibliographic data, such as the title, author, and volume. Here’s how:
1) First make sure you have the correct Zotero collection open so that your article ends up in the right place.
2) Find the PDF on your computer. It’s easiest if you can see both the PDF and Zotero at the same time. I’ve placed my PDF on the desktop so I can find it.
3) Click and drag the PDF in the middle column of Zotero. Make sure it doesn’t attach itself to an existing item.
Either drop it into white space underneath the items, or look for a pale blue line – this indicates the PDF will be a standalone item.
4) Right-click the PDF and choose Retrieve Metadata for PDF.
5) Sit back and wait for a few seconds while Zotero does the hard work for you (it’s retrieving the data from Google Scholar). The green tick shows it’s done.
In the right-hand column, you can now see all the meta-data:
Zotero has also created a new item and attached the PDF to it:
I think you’ll agree, it’s really nifty!
Now, this won’t work with every journal article, but it’s generally an effective method. You can also import multiple PDFs – it’ll take a bit longer to import all the data, though.
Find out more in my ebook How to Manage References with Zotero.