Multilingual Zotero: Groups

Photo by cindiann

Personal Libraries

People use their libraries for a wide range of items – not just academic references – and organise them in a multitude of ways. A brief guide can’t really do this justice, so the best way to find out more is to explore for yourself!

A few examples:


  • Different kinds of items saved in libraries
  • Different organisation methods, collections and tagging
  • Use of the social features (following/followers)
  • Use and membership of groups

Looking for people with similar interests? Try the Zotero People Page.

Group Libraries

As with personal libraries, there are many uses for Groups. A “Group” Library can simply be used as a way to publish and share an individual’s bibliography more visibly than if it’s in a personal library: it doesn’t have to be a collaborative affair at all. Nonetheless, collaborative bibliographies are an important feature facilitated by Groups.

  • See Sharon Howard’s GroupCollaboration for examples of different uses for teaching and research.

Creating a new group

Groups are created on the Zotero website. Groups that you own and groups that you have joined as a member will appear in your MLZ client when you sync your account. There are two ways to get started with creating a group:

  • Click on the New Group button (top left) in the MLZ client (this will take you to the website)
  • Or click on “Create a New Group” at

This is a simple process, but you should take note of the different privacy settings for libraries:

Completely Public
anyone can view and join and edit
Public to View
invitation only to join and edit
Completely Private
invitation only to view or edit

When setting up a Group, ensure you have the settings the way you want them!

Groups documentation

Adding items to a Group library

Some groups are read-only to ordinary members. If you have write permissions to a group library, you can add items to it (and delete items – but be careful with that, other users will not be happy if content they need suddenly disappears). (If you need write access to a library, contact the administrator to negotiate for permission.)

There are two ways to add items to a group library:

. Put items in your personal library first and then copy (drag and drop) to the group library in your MLZ pane.

  • NB: this creates a completely separate copy of the item; any subsequent changes you make to the copy in your personal library will not affect the copy in the group library.

. Or just add them straight to the group library.

  • In the MLZ pane, open the library’s folder, and then import the item. It should import straight into that library.
  • You can also add items at

To copy items from a Group library into your personal library in the MLZ pane, just drag and drop whichever items you want. Again, this will create new copies completely separate from those in the group library.

Editing queues

Group libraries meant for public consumption may have a separate partner library used as a submission queue. The Japanese Judgments and Rulings group is an example of this kind:

The submission queue is where the editors accept and edit contributions from members before approving them for “full” public release. In such groups, membership with editing privileges in the submission queue group is relatively open, while only the editors have write permissions to the full public library.


In group collaborations it’s likely that sooner or later two people will add the same reference to a library. Don’t worry too much about it. MLZ will save them both and they can be tidied up afterwards using the ‘Merge’ function in the MLZ pane (select both items and right-click for the dialogue).

See also: Groups

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This page is licensed by Frank Bennett on behalf of Nagoya University under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Credit to original author Sharon Howard must be retained.