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Open Source Citation Management Tool

Why Back Up Zotero

Zotero is not a website, but lives on your computer, connected to your web browser. If your hard drive dies, you could lose all of the material collected in your Zotero Library if you don't back up your data.

A loading arrow Syncing is the preferred backup method because it will automatically protect your data. 

Syncing Your Zotero Data

To set up Zotero syncing for data syncing (for item metadata, notes, and the full-text index) :

  1. Create a free account at
  2. Go to your Preferences in your Zotero Desktop application/ local library.
  3. Select Sync and then Settings.
  4. Use your username and password.
  5. Zotero will then automatically sync your local Library with their server.

The "data syncing" page in Zotero

Note: There is no limit to the number of citations that can be synced, but there is a cap on the free file storage (attached pdf's), though more space can be purchased.

After you link your Zotero account with the Zotero client program, you will see settings for managing data syncing and file syncing.

the settings for managing data syncing and file syncing in Zotero

File Syncing

  • Sync attachment files in My Library using: Enable/disable file syncing for your personal Zotero library.

    • Zotero:

    • WebDAV:

      • Sync file attachments using WebDAV storage.

      • Enter the URL for your WebDAV server (note that /zotero is added to the end of the URL automatically), your username, and your password.

      • Click “Verify Server” to check whether Zotero can connect with the server for file syncing.

The "verify server" button in Zotero

  • Sync attachment files in group libraries using Zotero storage:

    • Enable/disable file syncing for your group libraries.

    • Only Zotero File Storage is supported for group libraries.

  • Download files:

    • At sync time: Download all attachment files not already in your local Zotero file storage on your computer each time Zotero syncs.

    • As needed: Only download attachment files when the user attempts to open the file. Useful for reducing the amount of hard disk space Zotero uses for attachments.

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