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Interactive web bibliographies with Zotero

Example Installations

Lab website at Penn State

Personal website



David Reitter --


This tool generates interactive web bibliographies based on one or more collections in a Zotero repository. Collections can be maintained by groups of people, using Zotero's web interface or their desktop applications.

Bibliographies can be ordered by collection, by publication year, or by publication type (e.g., journal articles first), are interactively searchable, can be linked to PDF documents or other URLs, have records for BibTex, EndNote and Wikipedia, and can be exported to HTML or pushed to a Wordpress database.

Zot_bib_web does not depend on any third-party web server. The generated bibliographies load quickly because they are stored as static files along with the rest of your website. This makes a good source for webcrawlers, including Google Scholar and CiteSeer.

Setup is easy for anyone who runs their own website and knows how to use a command line (shell). The easiest way to use it is to call with the key of a public Zotero collection. It will make a zotero-bib.html file. Copy this, along with the "site" and "files" (if any) directory to your webserver.


  • View the HTML files in the demo folder for some examples of bibliographies. Their respective settings files and CSS style files are included.

  • Run:

    ./ --settings demo/

    to see it in action.

License and Donations

  • Use and modify this software free of charge.
  • No warranty is provided whatsoever.
  • Please e-mail a link to the bibliography on your website if you decide to use zot_bib_web.
  • You may use this software for free.


  • Python 2.7 or 3.6+

  • Pyzotero. To install Pyzotero, a library for python:

    sudo pip install pyzotero


    sudo easy_install pyzotero
  • A Zotero collection with your bibliography (as user or as group)

  • Optional: dateutils package for Python (improves date parsing if present)


  • Ensure is executable (chmod ug+x

  • Try it out. From a unix-like command-line, do this:

    ./ --group 160464 DTDTV2EP

Then view zotero-bib.html in a browser. If that looks good, move on to the next steps for configuration.

  • In a new file called, add configuration as documented in the file Go to to get your API secret key and your user or library IDs. It's easy: see the top of for details. If is set up, you can call without arguments.

Alternatively, you can use give the primary settings in arguments to the program.

Bibliography in Zotero

  • With Zotero, create a bibliography and note its ID (e.g., from the URL in the Zotero web interface). Example: MGID90AT. This ID is what you need for the "toplevelfilter" variable in
  • You can add sub-collections to your bibliography.
  • If you format ordered by collections, giving them an order may be helpful. You can name collections starting with a number: "10 Social Psychology".

Here's an example of a bibliography structure:

My Publications [MGID90AT]
    10 Selected Works
    15 In Preparation / Under Review
    20 Refereed Works by Topic
        Machine Learning
    30 Theses
    40 Talks (Without Paper)

To see this, use the provided as an example.

Overview of Configuration options

  • Configuration takes place in a settings file, by default named
  • Call ./ --help to see a list of command-line options.
  • Please refer to the documentation for information on the settings file, or read A few options are discussed in the following.
  • You can order our bibliography by sub-collection, by year, or by publication type (e.g., journal articles first, then conference papers). Even within the higher-level categories you can sort your bibliographic entries as you wish. Use the "sort_criteria" and "show_top_section_headings" settings.
  • You can choose a different formatting convention. Default is APA format.
  • At the top, a search box and a set of shortcuts may be displayed: for example, several years or spans of years, publication types, or subcollections that indicate topic areas. A visitor may click on these to quickly filter the bibliography.
  • Configure the shortcuts shown at the top using the show_shortcuts variable. 'collection', 'type', 'year', 'venue', 'venue_short', and 'tags' are supported values, in addition to more fine-grained lists of values you can create using the shortcut() function. You can give the list of values or ranges (for years), their order, and some filtering to only show the most common ones. See for a detailed example.
  • There are several more options. Again, see

Deployment to a web site

  • Upload the site folder or its contents to a public place on your web server. By default, /site/... is the assumed URL.

To generate HTML and include it in a website:

  • run once/on demand, or install as cron job or service on a server Do not run it more than once a day. Configure it directly in, or in a separate file to make upgrading simple.
  • include the resulting file zotero-bib.html (or as configured) in your website as you see fit. You may also include individual collection files, which are also generated. You can configure to generate a complete HTML document, or just a portion of it. Zot_bib_web generates HTML5 content.
  • Style your bibliography using CSS. An example style file is included (see site/ directory).

Wordpress Support

This package can push directly to a Wordpress site. A separate program "" is included to do this.

Follow these steps:

  1. Set up to generate a bibliography you like. Call --full to generate a complete zotero-bib.html file for debugging purposes. Configure to not generate the full HTML code.
  2. Install the wpautop-control plugin (or a similar plugin) to make sure that WP will not insert paragraph breaks at various places in the bibliography. With this plugin, you will need to add a "custom field" to the page created in the next step (Choose "Screen Options" at the top of the page view, enable custom fields. Then find custom fields at the very bottom of the page and add a "wpautop" field with value "no".
  3. Create a WP page or a post for the bibliography. Insert [zot_bib_web COLLECTION] where you'd like the bibliography inserted. Replace COLLECTION with the ID of the collection. (More options: see
  4. Copy the style sheet contents (in site/) to your Wordpress theme (select "editor", or "Additional CSS").
  5. Configure so that jquery and other files are available on the web server. Typically, this would be jquery_path = "../wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.js" clipboard.js and clippy.svg: You may refer to a public URL or serve the files yourself.
  6. Configure (at the top). You will need to know a few simple details about your WP installation.
  7. Run regularly or on demand. It will call automatically and then update the page in WP.


Create interactive web bibliographies based on Zotero collections




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