Maintaining and organizing references

In the course of time you probably have saved so many useful references that it becomes difficult to keep track of them all. Therefore it is advisable to create different collections under My Library in your Zotero and move your references to them. The references are also retained in My Library regardless of collections. You can organize your collections freely, for example by the chapters of your future dissertation/thesis or by main concepts of your research problem. You can store the same reference in several different collections at the same time and can delete the collection without deleting the references. Thus you don’t have to stress over your collection structure too much. After all, you are creating your own personal database and you can change it anytime.

1. Watch the video by University of New Brunswick Libraries (2:56):
Organize your Zotero library (opens in new tab).

2. Create a collection and name it as Xxx_Yyy_assignment, where Xxx is your last name (family name) and Yyy your first name (given name) (e.g. Smith_John_assignment). Add to this collection some references you saved in Zotero.

When you save references from different databases to your Zotero, you will most probably end up having the same items two or more times. It is advisable to merge these multiple references before you begin citing them.

3. Watch the video by MGH Institute of Health Professions, Janis P. Bellack Library (2:41):
Identifying and merging duplicates (opens in new tab).

Even though you are creating your own personal reference database, you might sometimes want to share useful references with others. You might find something interesting for your research colleagues with their own topics, you might want to share something with the other members of your research group, or your supervisor might want to see what references you have found out thus far. In those cases it is easiest to save the references you want to show to others in a specific library and share it with them. You have to create your personal Zotero account in order to share the libraries.

4. Watch the video by Georgia State University Library (5:04):
Setting up shared group libraries (opens in new tab).

The library sharing will be dealt with in detail during the teaching session.

(8/2022 HL)