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Zotero: Zotero Groups

Zotero is a free citation manager. This page offers information that will help you create and build a Zotero library, create and use groups to collaborate, and use Zotero to add properly formatted citations to your papers.

Library Data Services

Library Data Services caters to researchers interested in working with data, mapping, texts, visualization, and technology. Many of these services are available online. Davis Library Data Services, located on the second floor of Davis Library, offers:

  • A computing lab with specialized software for GIS and data visualization & analysis.
  • Walk-in assistance provided by knowledgeable student consultants during set hours
  • Consultations with specialists for more in-depth inquiries (by appointment).
  • Spaces for collaboration and presentation, complete with white boards and external displays.
  • Technology short courses and programs that promote digital scholarship.

Creating Groups

Zotero Groups provides a method to collaborate with other Zotero users. There is no limit on how many members may join your group, and your full storage subscription is available to both your personal and group libraries.

To create a new group, click on the "New Library..." icon located next to the New Collection icon in the top left corner of Zotero. When you click on the New Library icon, select "New Group" from the drop-down menu (demonstrated below). 

Create a new group

When you select "New Group," you will be brought to this page on Zotero's website where you can create a new group. 

Create a New Group Webpage

Group Types

There are three different types of groups for Zotero users: Public, Open Membership; Public, Closed Membership; and Private.


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 public library, administrators can choose to show or hide the entire library or individual collections from non-members.


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 public library, administrators can choose to show or hide the entire library or individual collections from non-members. 


Private Membership

  • 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.

Inviting Colleagues to Groups

Once you have created a group for your project, you need to invite members. To do so, go to the Zotero website, click on the Groups tab, and then on the "Manage Members" link. On this page, there is a link that will allow you to invite users, so be sure to have the emails they used to create their Zotero accounts handy!

Groups tab on Zotero's website

Adding Items to a Group

To add items to your Zotero Groups, simply drag and drop the items from your Zotero Library into the desired Group Library folder. If you would like for group members to see changes to the Group Library, make sure that they have enabled data syncing.

Dragging references from your library in Zotero to a group's library


Group Members Can Not Add or Edit Documents

The settings to manage who can edit the group's library and edit file attachments are located on Zotero's website under Groups, then the group you're using, then Library Settings, then Library Editing and File Editing.
Using Library settings on Zotero's website for groups to allow other group members to add files and edit the library

There are two main options available here:

  1. Make all members administrators and only allow administrators to edit the library. This is helpful if your group includes colleagues who you trust to have full control over the group's library and others who you'd like to be able to view the library but not edit it.
  2. Allow all members to edit files and the library. This is the ideal option if your group only includes members who you trust to have full control over the contents of the group's library.


Items Are Not Showing Up for All Group Members

The most likely reason for this is that the owner of the group has filled up their quota of free space. The owner of the group can check on this by going to Zotero's website, logging in, clicking Settings, then selecting Storage.

Viewing your storage usage on Zotero's website under Settings and then Storage

If the owner has used up all of their storage, then they have two options:

  1. Opt to not sync their personal library. If they do not have any documents in their personal library that they care to lose, then this option may give your group some extra space to work with. The owner can do so under their Zotero preferences by unchecking the box labeled Sync attachment files in My Library using. See here that both boxes are checked:
    Changing your sync preferences in Zotero under preferences and sync
  2. The owner can purchase extra storage for their Zotero account. Extra storage is relatively affordable, with the cheapest plan providing 2GB extra storage for one year for $20. Do keep in mind that, by default, Zotero selects "Automatically renew," so be sure to de-select this option if you do not want Zotero to continue to charge you after a year has passed.