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Legal Citation Management With Zotero

This guide describes how to use Zotero to import, manage, and create citations for Canadian legal information.

Zotero Connector

The easiest way to get items into your Zotero library is by using the Zotero Connector. The Zotero Connector is an icon that sits in your internet browser and allows you to save content from the Internet directly to your Zotero library. You can download the Zotero Connector from

Zotero's strength is that it recognizes when you are looking at information for a book, article, or other source in your web browser and inserts a "save reference" button right into the address bar. Depending on what type of reference you are looking at the address bar icon will be a book, document, newspaper, etc. To save the citation simply click the icon. If you are looking at a list of references, you may see a folder icon. This icon allows you to select multiple items from the list to save.

Screen shot of LegalTrac with Zotero Connector highlighted.

Manually Add Items

See also: Creating a Zotero Record for a Legal Case and Creating a Zotero Record for a Statute.

In some situations, such as a print resource, you may need to manually add a citation to your Zotero library. To add a citation manually, simply click on the green plus button, and then select the type of citation you would like to add. Templates for cases and statutes as well as journal articles, books, and other types of sources are available. If you do not see the item type you want right away, click 'More' as shown below...

Screen shot of Zotero Library adding item manually.

A blank item will be added to the middle column. Click to enter information in the fields for case name, date decided, reporter, etc.

Screen shot of Zotero Library editing an item record.

Drag and Drop PDF

It is easy to add a PDF to your library, simply open Zotero and drag and drop the PDF into the collection you would like to add it to. If the PDF has been created with Optical Character Recognition, Zotero can retrieve the metadata for the PDF. Either right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) and select Retrieve Metadata for PDF from the drop down menu. (Note: if the file is downloaded from a library database or it is well indexed, zotero will retreive the metadata and create a record automatically)


Add Item by Identifier

If you have an DOI, PubMed ID, or ISBN number it is easy to add the item to Zotero. Simply click on the magic wand icon from the Zotero toolbar and enter the number into the pop up window that appears at the top of your browser.