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Zotero at University of Waterloo: Searching Your Library

This guide will help you use the free online citation and research management tool Zotero to organize citations from Library catalogs and databases.

Finding Items with Tags

tags paneAs described under "Organizing Your Library," tags can be added by hand or automatically imported with items. 

When you click on any tag, the items pane (center column) updates to display only the items with that tag. You can select multiple tags to further refine the results. To remove the filter, click on the tag again or choose "Deselect All" from the drop-down menu. 

Use the search box in this pane to look for tags in the list.

Right click (Ctrl-click on Macs) on a tag to rename it across all the items or delete it from all the records it is attached to.  

The tag selector pane defaults to only showing the tags of items selected in the Library. Choosing "Display All Tags in This Library" from the drop-down menu will make all the tags visible. You can then apply existing tags to items by selecting the items in the Library pane and dragging them onto a tag. 

If you have not turned off the "Automatically tag items..." option under Preferences and you want to globally remove tags that have been imported with your items, choose the "Delete Automatic Tags in This Library..." option from the drop-down menu.

Searching Your Zotero Library

Searching collections

Zotero searches citations, notes, and attached PDFs for your search term.

Quick search can be used in three different modes:

“Title, Year, Creator” - matches against these three fields, as well as publication titles

“All Fields & Tags” - matches against all fields, as well as tags and text in notes

“Everything” - matches against all fields, tags, text in notes, and indexed text in PDFs. Turn on full-text PDF indexing the Search pane of Zotero preferences. 



You can determine whether an attachment has been indexed by selecting it in the items pane. 

right pane shows whether item has been indexed


Click on search (advanced search icon) icon to pull up the Advanced Search Screen.

advanced search dialog

shows menu of categoriesSorting is a quick way to locate items in your library and collections. To sort, click on any of the information categories listed at the top of the center column. Change the categories displayed by clicking on the icon in the top right corner of the column.