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Items can have notes, files, and links attached to them. These attachments appear in the middle column underneath their parent item. Attachments can be shown or hidden by clicking the arrow or plus sign next to their parent item.
Rich-text notes can be attached to any item through the Notes tab in the right column. They can be edited in the right column or in their own window. Click the New Standalone Note button in the toolbar to create a note without attaching it to an item.
Any type of file can be attached to an item. Items such as the PDF of an article or images of artwork can be opened in the web browser, while other file-types open in external programs. Attach files with the Add Attachment (paperclip) button in the Zotero toolbar, by right-clicking on an existing item, or by drag-and-dropping.
Web pages can be attached to any item as a link or a snapshot. A link simply opens the website online. A snapshot is a locally stored copy of a web page in the same state as it was when it was saved. Snapshots are available without an internet connection.
If you are using Zotero for Firefox or the Chrome or Safari connector, it is simple to create new items from information available on the internet. If a save icon appears in the toolbar or address bar, Zotero can automatically create an item of the appropriate type and populate the metadata fields. If a full-text PDF is available, it will usually be automatically attached to the item. Importing from some websites will also attach useful links (e.g. to the PubMed entry) or Supplemental Data files.
If the save icon is a book, article, image or other single item, clicking on it will add the item to the current collection in Zotero. If the save icon is a folder, the webpage contains multiple items. Clicking it will open a dialog box from which items can be selected and saved to Zotero.
Zotero uses bits of code called translators to recognize information on webpages. There are generic translators which work with many sites and translators written for individual sites. If a site you're using does not have a translator, feel free to request one in the forums.
You can click the save button in the toolbar to save the page into Zotero. Sometimes this may only save basic metadata (title, URL, access date); additional metadata can be added from the page by hand in Zotero for Windows. Furthermore you can save any webpage by right clicking (or command clicking on a Mac) on the page background and choosing “Save Page to Zotero”.
Zotero can add items automatically using ISBN number, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), or PubMed ID. This is done by clicking the Add Item by Identifier button in the Zotero toolbar, typing in the ID number and clicking OK. You can even paste or enter (press Shift+Enter for a larger box) a list of such identifiers at once.
Items can be added manually by clicking the New Item button in the Zotero toolbar, then selecting the appropriate item type. Metadata can then be added by hand in the right column. Apart from the versatility this provides, it is important for adding primary documents.