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Citation Management for Law Students

Learn how to use Zotero (a free citation management tool) to organize your research and create Bluebook citations.


With Zotero, you can quickly save article citations from most article databases:

zotero saving articles

Unfortunately, Lexis and Westlaw are not compatible with Zotero. See tips for using Zotero with Lexis & Westlaw below, or try using one of these compatible databases instead:


You can also save citations for books from the library catalog, WorldCat, Google Books, and

zotero saving books

For best results, first click on a specific item in your search results list, then save that item to Zotero


Zotero will recognize most items in your web browser, allowing you to quickly save citations by clicking the icons that appear in your web browser. Even if Zotero does not recognize the type of resource you're looking at, you can still save items to your Zotero library as a webpage.

Zotero for Firefox: Click the Zotero page icon to quickly save a webpage to your Zotero library. To save a snapshot of the webpage, click the arrow next to the page icon and select "Save to Zotero as Web Page (with snapshot)" from the dropdown menu.

zotero saving webpages

Zotero Standalone: Right-click on the webpage that you want to save and select "Save Page to Zotero."

Add citation information: When adding items as a webpage, you will usually need to manually add the citation information by selecting the item in your Zotero library and typing directly into the fields listed under "Info" in the right column.

Save a snapshot: It's always a good idea to save a snapshot of the webpage. This way you'll have a record of what the page looked like when you viewed it, even if it's edited or deleted later. To enable this feature:

  1. Open your Zotero preferences by clicking on the gear icon in your Zotero library
  2. Select "Automatically take snapshots when creating items from web pages.". 

Using Zotero with Westlaw & Lexis

Westlaw and Lexis are not compatible with Zotero, which means you won’t see a Zotero icon when viewing items in these databases. You can still use save items from Westlaw and Lexis to Zotero, however, by following the steps below.

Journal Articles

​Zotero for Firefox: Download a pdf of the article to your computer. Select "Save to Zotero" and "Retrieve Metadata for PDF" from the pop-up window. The pdf will be saved in your Zotero library.

Zotero Standalone: Download a pdf to your computer. Drag and drop the pdf into your Zotero library. Right-click on the item and select "Retrieve Metadata for PDFs."  

What if Zotero can't find metadata for a pdf? You will have to manually enter the citation information for that item, if you want to use Zotero to generate Bluebook citations for that item in the future. Select the item in your Zotero library and type directly into the fields listed under "Info" in the right column.

If you don't want to manually enter citation information, download the article from HeinOnline instead. HeinOnline is fully compatible with Zotero, and will allow you to save a pdf of the article with the full citation information.


Use Google Scholar: Copy the case citation from Westlaw or Lexis, and search for the case with Google Scholar. Save the case directly to Zotero from Google Scholar by clicking on the Zotero icon in your web browser. This is the fastest way to save a copy of the case with the complete citation information to Zotero.

Save as a pdf or webpage: You can also save cases as a pdf (the process is the same as saving pdfs of articles) or as a webpage (see the "Webpages" section above). Then manually enter the citation information for each case in your Zotero library.

Statutes, regulations, and other items

The fastest way to save statutes, regulations, and other items to Zotero from Westlaw or Lexis is to save the item as a webpage (see the "Webpages" section, above). You can also save pdfs of these items (the process is the same as saving pdfs for articles).


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Scott Vanderlin
Student Services Librarian
D'Angelo Law Library
Subjects: Law

Using FindIt! with Zotero

You can setup Zotero to use the Library's FindIt! service to locate full text of articles.

Step by step:

  1. Go to Zotero Preferences
  2. Select Advanced
  3. Under OpenURL, select Custom. Paste this URL into the box:
  4. You can now use the Library Lookup tool to locate full text articles. This should automatically include the proxy server.