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Zotero: Botany Plants and People

For Students in Botany: Plants and People: Weeks 1-4 Only

Week 1 and 2 Zotero stuff for Botany:  Plants and People:

I.  In Week 1, we got everyone set up to use either the Zotero desktop app, or Zotero in the cloud.  Everyone should have a library composed of at least 2 book citations.  Those using the desktop app learned how to synchronize their desktop Zotero library to their Zotero cloud space.

By the End of Class Tuesday of Week 2:

II. By the end of  the Week 2 Tuesday class, make sure that you have saved at least 2 book citations and 2 article citations to your Zotero library.

IV.  Everyone should have their bibliography showing up on the WordPress site2.  If not, email Paul.  

III.  If you have gotten behind, you can follow  instructions below under "Generating Your Bibliography:  The Zotero Part. 


Very recent changes in your zotero database may not be visible to you on the WordPress site for a while -- it is a good idea to make your final changes in Zotero, wait at least 15 minutes, and then either refresh your web page or open a new browser window and go to the WordPress site to see your bibliography.  (This is the result of caching, so if Frederica has not visited your bibliography recently, she will probably see your most recent changes immediately, even if you don't)

You want to save citations to Zotero from good data sources.  These include:  the library catalog (but be careful with data for ebooks), WorldCat, many .gov sites, Amazon, and the public websites for scholarly platforms like JSTOR, MUSE, etc.  Major newspaper and newsmagazine sites usually have good data.   Bad sources for data include Google Books and Google Scholar., Also, records for ebooks in the library catalog are sometimes wonky.

 If you get bad data and can't get better data from another source, you can edit every field in your Zotero citation, so you can fix up most bad data problems yourself.

 Your annotation goes in the Extra field, which is nearly the last field so you have to scroll down to get to it.

Generating Your Bibliography: The Zotero Part

This box includes the steps we are covering on Wednesday, Week 2.  If you already did this in class with us, your bibliography will be displaying correctly on the WordPress site, and you can ignore everything below (it means you've already done it all!)

  • Create a 'collectiion' in Zotero that will contain all the citations you want to display in your bibliography.
  • If you already have citations in your My Library, drag and drop these into your new collection.
  • Keep that collection highlighted as you work . . . future citations will go directly into that collection so long as it is selected.
  • If working directly in the cloud, the Zotero connector will always send your citations only to My Library, so you will have to continue to move them into your collection by hand..
  • Now each student needs to collect 3 pieces of information and copy and paste them into a document for later reference.
    • Collection ID:
      • Make sure your new collection is selected.
      • Look in the URL bar. 
      • The last part of the URL weill be a sequence of about 8 uppercase letters (and maybe numbers).  Mine is:  AYJPFUUQ
      • Copy this into a word process document.  This is your Collection ID
    • User ID
      • In your page, click on the menu item that shows your zotero user name.
      • In the dropdown, choose Settings
      • In the submenu under settings, choose Feeds/API
      • You will see:  "Your userID for use in API calls is xxxxxx" where xxxxxx is a 6 digit number.
      • Copy that number.  That is your User ID.
    • Private Key
      • Directly under your userID is a link labelled "Create New Private Key" Click on that link.
      • Make up a Key Description
      • Scroll to bottom and click the "Save Key" button.
      • A new page will appear with a long sequence of numbers and letters.  Copy this. This is your Private Key.
    • You should now have a document that has 3 items on it:  Your Collection ID (all letters); Your User ID (all numbers).  Your Private Key (a mix of numbers and letters).
    • Email these three pieces of info (as an attachment or in the body of an email, it doesn't matter) to Paul at
    • Please include in that email your Zotero handle (aka username).
    • This docuement is not your end goal -- it is just for temporary storage of the data you will need in the next and last section.

Tricky Things: Where do substantive discursive notes go?

Chicago Manual of Style 14.39 indicates that substantive notes, even if they do not cite any sources, can be done as just another endnote, presumably in the endnote sequence.  On the other hand, 14.49 says that in a "heavily documented work" it might be better to place substantive notes as footnotes on the same page.  The first footnote would be indicated by an *.


Tricky Things: single quote marks vs double quote marks

The Chicago Style Manual acknowledges that some disciplines have specific conventions that distinguish separate meanings for single vs double quotes, but Chicago recommends against this approach, and considers them equal.  You alternate between them when you have a quote within a quote.

Tricky Things: Endnotes and Indentation

CMS 14.19 says that you use the same indentation as with running text:  first line tabbed in, subsequent lines justified left.

Reminder: Don't save to Zotero until your page has loaded

Two ways you can end up with incomplete citation data in Zotero:

If you are on a slow internet connection, some of your pages may load slowly.  If you click on the Zotero connector before a page is fully loaded, you will not get complete citation data saved to Zotero.

After the page has fully loaded and you click on the Zotero connector, if you leave the page before the text in the Zotero pop-up window goes from gray to black, you will not get complete citation data into Zotero.

Tricky Things: When there is no author

When you cannot identify an author (common on web pages), you have two choices.

1. Leave the author field blank.  The title will become the lead in the citation, including for purposes of alphabetization.

2.  Identify a 'corporate' author.  Here are two examples provided by the Chicago Manual of Style:


Google. 2017. “Privacy Policy.” Privacy & Terms. Last modified April 17, 2017.

Yale University. n.d. “About Yale: Yale Facts.” Accessed May 1, 2017.

How to Cite a Wikipedia Entry

There doesn't seem to be a single answer to this.  Here are some acceptable answers.

1)  Don't.  There are better sources.

2)  Reference Wikipedia in the text, but don't bother with a note or a bibliographical entry (the Chicago Manual explicitly recommends this approach)..  For example: 

"Notably, the historian Fernand Braudel headlines an entire chapter in the Handbook of HIstorical Sociology, but, as of this writing on March 4, 2022, is not even mentioned in the Wikipedia article on "Historical Sociology." 


3)  If you cite Wikipedia in your Bibliography, here are three options:

  Wikipedia, n.d. s.v. "Historical Sociology," accessed on March 4, 2022,

 "Historical Sociology".  In Wikipedia, accessed on March 4, 2022, from

  Wikipedia.  2022.  "Historical Sociology,"  accessed on March 4, 2022.

[n.d. = "no date".  s.v.="sub verbo", or "under the words"]

Tricky Things: Italics in titles for scientific names

Scientific names in journal article titles should be italicized, but will not be by default.  You can make them italicized by manually editing the article title field.

Place <i> before the term to be italicized, and </i> after.  You are all set.  You may not see the change  in your WordPress bibliography for  5-15 minutes (and remember to refesh the page the bibliography is on).

Book titles are italicized by default, but scientific names in book titles should be un-italicized (or reverse italicized).  The same tags (<i>, </i>) will accomplish this for scientific names in book titles.

Tricky Things: Place of Publication: Multiple cities

Usually, only one city is listed as place of publication. But there can be two or more.  I have not found a definitive answer to this, but most people who have commented on this issue agree with Frederica:  pick one. Either the first listed, or the one that seems most relevant to you (geographically?  I don't know).  So if Zotero imports more than one place of publication, you can edit that Zotero field by deleting all but one location.

Tricky Things: Publication Date and Versions

  • Some books are republished versions of older books -- often exactly the same content, but with a different publication date and often a different publisher.  The most common example is an ebook, which may show only the date the ebook was published, even if it is an exact replica of an earlier print book.  Since you will be including primary works in your bibliographies, it is entirely possible that you will encounter this situation. 
    • A good and simple example of this is:
      • Fleming, James Rodger. (1998) 2020. Historical Perspectives on Climate Change. Oxford Scholarship Online. New York: Oxford University Press.
      • The ebook was published in 2020 and is the version I used.  But it is an exact replica of the print, published in 1998.  The data that Zotero gets from the library catalog only knows about the 2020 date.  But the library record does have an additional field that indicates the original publication date (sometimes you will need to look at the publication date in the frontmatter of the ebook).  So, in the Zotero Extra field, I need to type:  original-date: 1998 
        • Note:  I can still type my annotation in the Extra field after the date code.
    • Confessions of an English Opium Eater is a much more complex example.   It was originally published in two parts in a magazine in 1821.  It was published as a book in 1822, but with a few small changes.  A 2nd edition, again with a couple of minor changes, was published in 1823.  the next few editions apparently had no changes from the 2nd edition.  But the 1856 edition was substantially reworded and expanded.  So, what publication date do you use?
      • You do need to cite the date of the publication that you consult.  But you should also include an original publication date in the Extra field. Which date?  1821, the true first appearance?  1822, the true first book version?  1823, if the version you used shows the changes specific to the 2nd edition?  1856 if the version you used is based on the expanded and reworded 1856 version?  There may be an exactly correct answer to this.  But I say, read the frontmatter in the version you are using, possibly including the foreword, preface, or introduction, to see what is said about versions.  Then cite the edition you are consulting, plus the original date that makes the most sense to you (which in Zotero requires the original-date:xxxx trick in red above).

Tricky Things: Citing a primary document that you know of only through a drawing/sketch of the document found in a book

Still working on this one!

However, if we begin with the idea that a key factor in citation is that the reader could locate the same source with the information your citation provides, then it should be adequate to follow the logic and format described here:

This example from CMOS doesn't say whether it is using Author-Date format, or N&B format.  And the format doesn't look quite like either one.  So, just do your best based on this.

However, in the case that prompted this question, the sketch artist is different than the author/editor of the book the sketch appears in.  Shouldn't that artist be included in the citation?  And if so, how?  Don't worry about that for now.  Information about the sketch artist doesn't actually help the reader find the source.  You could include the name of the sketch artist in your text, however, and probably should.


Tricky Things: Chicago Citation Style For Issue Numbers and Month and Season

In Chicago (Author-Date) style, the official Chicago Style page shows two different ways to cite issues, as you can see from these examples taken from that site:


Zotero outputs only the style shown in the LaSalle citation.  However, Chicago Style prefers the other format when a month or season is available (see 15.9, and 15.47 in the print version of The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed).  It seems likely that either is fine, in the end.

Daniel J. Evans Library - MS: LIB2300 - 2700 Evergreen Parkway, NE. Olympia, WA 98501 - 360-867-6250