How to capture and reference a webpage in your research using Zotero
The need to reference webpages in academic work is growing all the time, particularly in the digital humanities. There are many different reference management systems that exist to help researchers sort and find their sources and the most accessible of these is Zotero. This short guide will show how to use Zotero to capture webpages that can then be cited in your work.
If you have not come across Zotero before, it is an open access tool that helps you collect, organise, cite and share research. To download Zotero, go to https://www.zotero.org/
You will need to download both the standalone version as well as the Zotero connector for your web browser (in this example Firefox). There are different connectors depending on the web browser you are use.
When you first start using Zotero, the standalone version will be empty of references. It is possible to import references from other database sources, or to input your collections manually, or add items from the web. Your collections can be sorted into different folders to help you find your data. For more information on how to do this click here.
One advantage to using Zotero, particularly in the digital humanities or in Holocaust research, is that you can capture webpages into your database with ease. You need to have installed the web connector first. In this example the browser being used is Firefox. Once installed, you will see a message highlighting the fact Zotero has been added as an ‘add-on’ and can be managed through the Firefox menu.
If the Zotero add-on button has not appeared on your toolbar, go into the Firefox add-on manager, click and hold on ‘Zotero Connector’ and drag and drop it to the toolbar (where your bookmarks and download buttons are).
Once you have the Zotero add-on button, find the webpage you are interested in and then click on icon in the top right hand side of your browser (if using Firefox) to ‘Save to Zotero’. A dialogue box will open showing where the webpage will be saved.
To change where the item will be saved, click on the downward facing arrow to the right of ‘My Library’ and make your selection. Then click ‘Done’.
When you open your standalone version of Zotero you will see the webpage has been added. You can correct the data if necessary. Notes and tags can also be added, and you will note that if you click on the arrow to the left of the item you have imported, there is a ‘Snapshot’ of the webpage, plus the details of when the webpage was accessed (essential for referencing).
When it comes to cite your work, if you are using a Microsoft Office program Zotero should have automatically installed as an additional menu item on the toolbar at the top of the page. If this has not happened automatically you will need to go into the Zotero standalone version, click on ‘Tools’, and ‘Add ons’ and install the Zotero add on manually. From the Zotero tab you can amend the citation style, add citations and bibliographies etc.
There are many other features of Zotero that can be explored, but in an age of digital sources this shows how to make capturing information from the web and using it appropriately for research purposes almost effortless.