Zotero allows you to add notes to your sources. Adding notes directly to a source has many potential uses, but it's the best method for saving and organizing your notes on physical resources (e.g. print books, articles, and etc.). With electronic resources, it's best to take notes directly in the article and extract them using Zotfile.
Creating Notes in Zotero
1. Click on a source and select the "Notes" tab on the right info pane:
2. Click "Add" to add a note:
3. You can type your notes in the info pane on the right. Your note will be saved as a yellow note icon under your source. You can attach as many notes to your sources as your wish:
Using a pdf editor in combination with Zotero and Zotfile will allow you to take notes directly in your pdfs, extract them to the "Notes" tab in Zotero, and jump directly to the pages of the article that include notes. Zotero will work with any pdf editor, but Foxit Reader will be used for the demonstration below.
There are two ways to take notes in most pdf readers: highlighting and notes. Highlighting will highlight text that will later be extracted to Zotero's notes tab. Highlighting is great for pulling portions of articles that you would like to quote directly in your writing. Notes will allow you to respond to articles, save them inside the article, and later extract them to Zotero using Zotfile. Notes are a great way to respond to an article and get your ideas down as your read.
Highlighting in Foxit Reader
1. Double click on a source in Zotero, then double click on the pdf to open the pdf:
2. To highlight in Foxit Reader, select "Highlight" under the "Home" tab. Then, drag your cursor over the text that you want to highlight:
Creating Notes in Foxit Reader
1. Click the "Note" button under the "Comment" tab in Foxit Reader, then click anywhere on the document to create a note:
2. Type your note into the box and close it (it will automatically save):
3. Your highlights and annotations will be saved inside the pdf, so remember to click "Save" when you are finished with your annotations:
Once you highlight text and create notes inside a pdf, you will need to extract these annotations to see them in Zotero. After doing so, they will appear in the "Notes" tab along with clickable citations that will allow you to jump directly to associated pages in the document.
Extracting Notes from pdfs
1. To extract your highlights and notes from a pdf, right lick on the pdf and select Manage Attachments > Extract Annotations:
2. This will create a new note under your source. Your highlights and notes will appear in the "Notes" tab. Highlights will be in quotations, while notes will be italicized:
3. When clicked, the blue references after each note will take you directly to the page of the document on which the note was created. You can also add further notations if you wish. Depending on your preferences, you can rely entirely on highlights, then annotate them in Zotero after they have been extracted. Or you can create notes as you read. Experiment to see which method works best for you:
Be Consistent: Use similar key words and note taking strategies to make searching your notes easier.
Be Active: Actively write your own thoughts and reactions to the article as you read it. Consider summing up the main point of the argument as you read a source. This will make writing literature reviews and annotated bibliographies much easier later on.
Be Creative with Print Sources: If you would like to take notes on a print book or article, consider taking notes directly in Zotero's note feature. You could also take notes in a Word or Google Doc and attach it to the citation manually.
Always Extract: Remember that your notes are saved at the pdf level. They will only appear in Zotero if you extract them using ZotFile.