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Zotero: A Beginner's Guide

Create a Group Library

Zotero users can create collaborative or interest groups. Shared group libraries make it possible to collaboratively manage research sources and materials, both online and through the Zotero client. Zotero.org can be the hub of all your project group's research, communication and organization. This video from RMTBC Library provides a step by step in creating groups in Zotero

There are two ways to create Zotero groups:

  • You can click the New Group icon located next to the New Collection icon in the top left corner of the Zotero firefox add-on.

Using Group Library

If you have enabled data syncing and are a member of a group with an enabled library, the group library will appear in Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone in the left column. Items can be dragged into it from My Library and viewed or edited by other group members, if their permissions allow it. To create a subcollection, right-click on a group library and select New Subcollection. Note that group libraries are wholly separate from My Library. Any items dragged into them are separate copies and changes to the items will not be reflected in your own copy of the item until you drag it back into My Library. This example shows a group library for a group project in APSC200 and the group owner can add other members to create a space to manage the resources found by every group member

Zotero Group Types

Group Types

Private Groups

  • Private groups provide a means of collaboration among group members without creating any public face for the group online.
  • Only group members and users invited to join the group are able to see the group’s page.
  • Private groups are completely hidden from group searches. They are not shown on members’ public profile pages and will not appear in search engine results.
  • If administrators enable file sharing, group members can access and share files in addition to references.

Public, Closed Membership

  • Closed-membership groups are useful for creating a controlled group environment with a public presence. This allows a group to publicly present its work and sources, or develop new membership in a controlled fashion.
  • Anyone can view the group page, but the only way to join the group is by invitation or by requesting an invitation.
  • If the group has a library, administrators can choose to show or hide the library from non-members.
  • If administrators enable file sharing, group members can access and share files in addition to references.

Public, Open Membership

  • Open public groups are useful for the broadest discussion and collaboration.
  • The group page is public, and anyone who wants to can join instantly.
  • If the group has a library, administrators can choose to show or hide the library from non-members.
  • Open public groups do not allow file sharing.

Zotero Group Website

Every group also has its own web page. For public groups, this page acts as a public portal for the group’s collaborative work. For private groups, the page offers a way for group members to interact with the group’s collections from anywhere.