Install Zotero# > Linux Official Tarball:

Download the tarball, extract the contents, and run zotero from that directory to start Zotero.

Download current tarball from, e.g. right click, save to “Downloads”.

To install the tarball without sudo rights follow the instructions at > “Manuelle Installation”, e.g. like this:

tar -xvf Downloads/Zotero-6.0.35_linux-x86_64.tar.bz2

To launch Zotero simply call the start script directly:

Zotero_linux-x86_64/zotero &

If you launch Zotero the first time Zotero will detect that the Firefox launcher isn’t installed. It will open the according page Push the button “install”.

Zotero also offers to install the libre office connector: do it.

Restart firefox.

Zotero toolbar button not visible? Solution:

If the button doesn’t appear to the right of the address bar, you can find it either in the Extensions menu (opened via a puzzle-piece button to the right of other toolbar buttons) or the overflow menu (opened via a “»” button to the right of your other toolbar buttons). If the button appears in the Extensions menu, click the gear icon and select Pin to Toolbar to keep it in the toolbar.

Zotero’s Better BibTeX#

Enhance Zotero with Follow the installation instructions from > latest release:

  • Save file zotero-better-bibtex-6.7.169.xpi (as of 2024-03-17) e.g. to Downloads

  • start Zotero, and import this file: Zotero > Tools > Add-ons > Install Add-on from File > select zotero-better-bibtex-6.7.169.xpi >

  • Zotero wants you to restart Zotero: do it!

You will find that Zotero has allocated the new directory ~/Zotero: Include this directory to your list of directories which are backuped daily ;-) . To learn where your data reside read

TBD: Export

  • File > Export > Format: BetterBibTeX

  • Keep Updated: Yes!

  • suggested location in the dsci-lab: ~/b/bib/BetterBibtexExport.bib

Transfer existing Zotero database#

HowTo: . This is how we do it:

Old linux computer (here: virtual machine, i.e. dsci-lab last year):

  • shut down Zotero (!)

  • Copy whole Zotero directory to a hard disk outside the guest, e.g.

cp -rp Zotero /media/sf_abc123/a/l/Zotero_2024-03-17

New Linux computer, with newly intalled empty Zotero:

mv Zotero Zotero_empty
cp -rp /media/sf_abc123/a/l/Zotero_2024-03-17/ Zotero

Start Zotero again:

Zotero_linux-x86_64/zotero &

You now should have avaialble your complete Zotero database.

Zotero HowTo#

Daily Business#

Download pdf of a journal article, and transfer it to the Zotero database, with automatic analysis of content:

Download pdf of a journal article via DOI:

Add arbitrary pdf to the Zotero database:

  • e.g. (Denny Vrandecic: Ontology Evaluation. Dissertation, June 10, 2010 )

  • Zotero > PLUS-icon “Kopie einer Datei speichern” > select pdf in your file system

  • Zotero will import and show pdf file - but metadata are missing!

    • enter them manually: right click > add metadata

Those who find the manual collection of metadata too tedious and error-prone can search for metadata on the web.

  • Denny e.g. is listed here: Search his publication in the 2010 section.

  • Export record > BibTeX: a new page will open, and show the BibTeX record … and Zotero will recognize the metadat!

  • Hit the “Z” icon in the toolbar, and import the metadata into Zotero.

  • As a last step drag the pdf-file into the newly generated metada record.

Try this also with:

pdf without metadata, e.g. Universität Osnabrück – Dezernat 7: Wie schreibe ich ein wissenschaftliches Exposé?

  • Download to Downloads; Zotero > PLUS-icon > Kopie einer Datei speichern

  • Zotero > right klick on imported pdf file > create parent item > Manual Entry

My most often used workflow

  • search for article e.g. with google

  • download pdf, Zotero > PLUS-icon > Kopie einer Datei speichern: Metadata out of the box available and ok? If not:

  • search for DOI;

export to BibTeX file and keep current#

File > Export Library > Format: Better BibLaTeX > Filename: zotero.bib

On my own machine I have choosen to put the file zotero.bib into a local folder (here: ~/a/l/LA_2024_ss/bib/zotero.bib`), where all my projects have access to this file.

Merge other Zotero database into existing Zotero database#


You will want to export one library as Zotero RDF and import the .rdf file into the second library. To do this, click “File” → “Export Library…”. The default export format should be “Zotero RDF”, which you should leave selected. You can check the boxes for including files and notes if you would like to transfer those to the other library. Click OK, name the .rdf file, and choose a destination to save it. You can then e-mail this folder to a friend or colleague or to yourself. From the second Zotero library, click the “File” menu again and select “Import…”. Choose the .rdf file in the folder you created and click OK. This should import the items, combining the two libraries.

JB: Tested 2022-03-11 with directory /home/dsci/a/l/test/zotero-rdf-2022-03-11/ - it worked fine.