Zotero is a free and popular tool developed by academics for academics for managing bibliographies to share resources like PDFs.
To access the course readings, you’ll need to join our group library for the course. On the first day of class, I send invitations to all registered students to join our group library. If you registered after then and are trying to connect to the course library, you’ll need to skip to the “I didn’t get an invitation” section below.
If you have already clicked on the link in the invitation from zotero.org, you may have completed all these steps already. If you did (or think you did), skip to Step 5 to verify everything is working. Otherwise, start at Step 1 or 2, depending on whether you’ve created an account or not.
If you already have a Zotero account (from a previous course, perhaps), skip to Step 2. Each course has a separate library that you need to join.
If you don’t have one already, sign up for a free account at zotero.org. Creating a Zotero account requires only that you specify a username, password, and email address. You will not get any spam from Zotero or anyone else because of your Zotero account. Use your UNM email address!!!!!
If you are, there will be a “Log Out” link in the upper right corner of the page.
Click on the “Groups” tab or nav bar link. Once you’re on the groups page, you should see off to the right that you have been invited to join our course library, and you’ll see a red “Join” button. If instead you happen to see a link to the course library on the main part of the page, then you’re already connected.
If you don’t see a red “Join” button, it’s because you registered for the class after I sent out the invitations to join the group library or you are logged in with a non-UNM email address. Either way, skip to the “I didn’t get an invitation” section below.
Click the red “Join” button off to the right. Nothing really changes on the webpage, but that’s fine.
Click again on the “Groups” tab, and you should now be able to see the course library and all the readings for the semester. When you click one of these, you’ll go to a metadata page with a link to a PDF of the reading at the bottom. If you can open a PDF this way, everything is working.
NOTE: If you are using the New Beta version of zotero.org, then you’ll want to look for the “attachments” tab on the right after you select an item.
Using the Zotero website to access the readings will always work, but it’s seriously clunky. I HIGHLY recommend that you download and install Zotero on your computer, so you’ll have a much faster, convenient, and clearer interface to the readings. Use the “Standalone” version. It is a small app that is entirely safe to install.
While in the process of installing the Zotero app, you’ll have the option to link your installation of Zotero to your online zotero.org account. Be sure to do this! If you complete the installation and have not told your Zotero app about your zotero.org account, go into the Zotero preferences menu (however you get to application preferences menus on your platform), and select the “Sync” tab. You can enter your username and password there.
Once you have connected the Zotero app to your zotero.org account, you will see on the leftmost column of your Zotero display, near the bottom, a “Group Libraries” header, and you’ll see a folder with the name of our group library for the course; click on that to see all the readings for the semester.
Double clicking an item opens a PDF, just like on zotero.org.
CAREFUL: If an item has multiple PDFs associated with it (like two book chapter scans), you’ll need to click on the arrow to the left of that item to see all the associated PDFs for that item. Then you can double click the one you want to open. Just double clicking the item opens whichever PDF comes first alphabetically (which normally works since there is normally just one PDF per item).
If you’ve only recently joined the group library, Zotero will take a few minutes to download all the PDFs, but eventually you’ll have all of them on your computer. If I update the Zotero library with a new reading (or a better scan or something like that), you’ll automatically get it.
Especially if you ever have bibliographic research to do, Zotero is incredibly helpful in keeping your sources organized and creating bibliographies for you. Learning how to stay organized in your work (whether school or other professional endeavor) is a crucial skill that you’ll want to develop sooner than later because it will save you tremendous amounts of time. You’ll make more money, be happier, etc. This course is a great excuse to start experimenting with finding a process that works best for you. Your future self will thank you!