I’ve been using Zotero since somewhere in 2011 as my main reference manager.
Just to get you up to speed, a reference manager is a tool with which you can keep track of often academic references.
My Zotero is filled with the bibliographic information and fulltext PDFs of hundreds of references.
When I have to cite any references in something I’m writing, I export the relevant collection from Zotero, often as a bibtex file, and then cite away either in LaTeX or Org mode.
Most importantly, Zotero acts as the long-term storage of all of the more academic articles that I read and cite.
In addition to actually citing references, often I just need to link to specific items or collections of items in Zotero right from my Org mode notes, so that I can easily jump to them from notes.
This post describes how to do that in three easy steps.
Install Zutilo to create links to Zotero items and collections
First you should download the latest zutilo add-on XPI from its github releases page.
To install this in Zotero standalone, select
Add-ons from the
then select the ear icon and select
Install add-on from file, after which you
can finally select the
zutilo.xpi that you downloaded.
Once installed, configure zutilo by selecting
Zutilo Preferences from the
Zotero item menu grouping, activate
Copy select item links, and
Zotero collection menu, activate
Copy select collection link.
I prefer to activate them both for the
Zutilo context menu.
Configure your Linux or Windows system to open zotero: links
On Windows, clicking or opening a
zotero:// link should by default open the
Zotero app. Ok that was really hard.
On Linux, as is its wont, you have to put in some extra effort to get this working.
In KDE, find Zotero in your application menu, and then select
Edit application from the context menu.
If you’re not using KDE, you will have to find the relevant
.desktop file via
some other means. Please let us know in the comments if you discover something
In my case, the
.desktop file KDE then opened was
Ensure that that file contains a
MimeType=x-scheme-handler/zotero; as show
Configure org-mode to pass zotero: links on to the OS
Add the following to your
This just tells Org mode to pass on any
zotero:// links to the operating
system for further handling.
Profit: Copy and store links in your Org mode files
Let’s say you are writing a note about a specific paper or about an interesting collection of papers that you’ve collected in Zotero.
In Zotero, right click on the collection, or on the item, and then select
Copy select collection link or
Copy select item links.
When you paste this in Org mode, you’ll get a link that looks like
zotero://select/library/collections/DY4K5MSJ for collections or like
zotero://select/library/items/F8AFZ7YL for specific items.
You can use this link as you would any other link in your notes.
C-c C-o (
M-x org-open-at-point) with your cursor on the link, your
zotero will open up with the relevant collection or item in focus, ready for
you to consult it.