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Zotero Item Types and Fields

This page provides general descriptions of Zotero item types and fields. It can be helpful when entering item data into Zotero manually. The page also provides guidance on ways to store information for unusual item types.

Item Types

Item types in Zotero should be regarded as flexible, broad categories. Item types are generally determined based on how items should be cited. See descriptions of Zotero’s item types below. If you are citing an unusual item type that does not perfectly fit one of the supported categories, choose an item type that is reasonably close with an adequate selection of fields (e.g., Book, Report, or Manuscript can be made to fit most unusual item types well).

You can store more specific information about the type of item (e.g., a novel versus a biography book) in the Type, Format, or Extra fields or using tags.

Item Type Description
Artwork A piece of artwork (e.g., an oil painting, photograph, or sculpture). Also use this item type for other types of images or visual items (e.g., scientific figures).
Audio Recording Any form of audio recording, including music, spoken word, sound effects, archival recordings, or audio-based scientific figures.
Bill A proposed piece of legislation.
Blog Post An article or entry posted to a personal blog website. For online articles published as part of a larger online publication (e.g., NYT Blogs), using Magazine Article or Newspaper Article generally yields better results.
Book A book or similar published item. For government documents, technical reports, manuals, etc., use Report instead. This item type can also be adapted to fit many types of unusual items.
Book Section A section of a book. Usually chapters, but also forewords, prefaces, introductions, appendices, afterwords, comments, etc.
Case A legal case, either published or unpublished.
Computer Program A piece of software or other computer program.
Conference Paper A paper presented at a conference and subsequently published in a formal conference proceedings publication (e.g., as a book, report, or issue of a journal). For conference papers that have not been published in a proceedings, use Presentation.
Dictionary Entry An entry published as part of a dictionary.
Document A generic document item. This item type has a poor selection of fields and poor support in citation styles, so it should generally be avoided.
Email A message sent via email. This type could also be used for other forms of personal communication.
Encyclopedia Article An article or chapter published as part of an encyclopedia.
Film A film or motion picture. Generally, use this type for artistically-oriented films (including fictional, non-fictional, and documentary films). For other types of video items, use Video Recording.
Forum Post A post on an online discussion forum. Also use this type for items such as Facebook posts or tweets.
Hearing A formal hearing or meeting report by a legislative body.
Instant Message A message sent via an instant message or chat service. This type could also be used for other forms of personal communication.
Interview An interview with a person, including recordings, transcripts, or other records of the interview.
Journal Article An article published in a scholarly journal (either print or online).
Letter A letter sent between persons or organizations. This type could also be used for other forms of personal communication.
Magazine Article An article published in a non-scholarly, popular, or trade magazine (either print or online).
Manuscript An unpublished manuscript. Use this type for both historical documents and modern unpublished work (e.g., unpublished manuscripts, manuscripts submitted for publication, working papers that are not widely available). Can also be used for other forms of historical or archival documents. This item type can also be adapted to fit many types of unusual items.
Map A map. Also use this type for geographic models.
Newspaper Article An article published in a newspaper (either print or online).
Patent A patent awarded for an invention.
Podcast A podcast (an episode of an audio or video program distributed online, often via subscription).
Presentation A presentation made as part of a conference, meeting, symposium, lecture, etc. This item type refers to the presentation itself, not a written version published as part of a conference proceedings (use Conference Paper for such published versions).
Radio Broadcast An audio broadcast, such as a radio news show, an episode of a radio entertainment series, or similar. Includes broadcasts from online radio stations and audio broadcasts archived online (cf. Podcast).
Report A report published by an organization, institution, government department, or similar entity. Also used for working papers and preprints distributed through institutional repositories or preprint servers. This item type can also be adapted to fit many types of unusual items.
Statute A law or other piece of enacted legislation.
Thesis A thesis submitted as part of a student applying for a degree (either published or unpublished).
TV Broadcast An episode of a television series.
Video Recording A video recording. Use this type for general video items that do not fit into one of the more specific video item types (e.g., Film, TV Broadcast), such as YouTube videos or video-based scientific figures.
Webpage An online page of a website. When possible, use one of the more specific item types above (e.g., Magazine Article, Blog Post, Report).
Attachment A standalone attachment file (e.g., a PDF, JPEG, DOCX, PPTX, XLSX, or ODT file). Standalone attachment files have limited functionality in Zotero (e.g., they cannot be properly searched or cited). Always attach files to proper Zotero items.
Note A standalone note. Notes can be used for organizing and annotating in Zotero. If you cite a standalone note, Zotero will use the first 120 characters as the item title (and will treat the note as an author-less and date-less item). Citing notes is not a reliable way to add standalone commentary to a bibliography or reference list.

For additional legal and historical item types, see Legal Citations.

Item Fields

Fields included for various item types in Zotero are described below. Fields are organized into categories based on the kinds of items they are most typically associated with. Some fields (e.g., Volume, Series) may also be present for other types of items. Specific meanings of fields for particular item types are noted where necessary.

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) cannot be used in citations

General Fields

The following fields exist across multiple item types and have the same purpose for all (or nearly all) types.

Field Description
Item Type The broad type of item. Item types are generally determined based on how items should be cited. See descriptions of Zotero’s item types above. You can store more specific information about the type of item (e.g., a novel versus a biography book) in the Type, Format, or Extra fields or using tags.
Creators The individuals or entities creating or associated with a work. An item can have multiple creators of numerous different kinds. See the list of creator types below.
Title The principal title of an item. Should be entered in sentence case.
Abstract Short description of the work
Date Date of publication. Use “Accessed” for the date an electronic resource was accessed.
Short TitleShort form of the title, often without the subtitle. Used mostly in footnote styles for subsequent citations
Language The language of publication for an item. We recommend storing these as two letter ISO language codes followed by two letter ISO country codes (e.g., en-US for American English, or de-DE for German).
The Language field is used to determine whether English Title Casing rules should be applied when formatting item titles. If the stored item data is in English (e.g., for translated titles), enter en-US, even if the item content is in another language.

Fields for Books and Periodicals

Field Description
Publication The title of the periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper, etc.) containing the cited item
Book Title
Dictionary Title
Encyclopedia Title
The title of the book, encyclopedia, or dictionary that a chapter, entry, or other book section is published in.
Volume The volume of a (typically multi-volume) publication an article or chapter is published in. For numeric volumes, enter only a number. If the volume should be cited with a volume title, include the title in this field (e.g,. “2: Organizational Psychology”).
Issue The issue number of a periodical. Typically, issues start at 1 at the beginning of each year/volume. If a periodical has only a volume number and no issue number, leave this field blank.
Pages The page range of an item that is part of a larger publication. Also to be used for locators or article numbers in e-journals and ebooks.
Edition The edition of a work. Where numeric, enter as simple Arabic numeral (i.e., “2” rather than “second”).
Series Name of a series that contains multiple publications or presentations (e.g., “Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics”, “Special issue on Advances in Personality Assessment”).
Series Number The number of an item in a series.
Series Title Title of a series of articles within one issue of a journal (e.g., a special section or “From the Cover”). “Section Title” would likely be a more appropriate label. See here for an explanation. For citation purposes, this field is currently equivalent to “Series” and is erroneously used instead of series in some item types (e.g., Audio Recording, Map).
# of Volumes The number of volumes in a collective work.
# of Pages The number of pages in a book.
Section Section of a newspaper.
Place The place of publication for an item.
Publisher The publisher of an item.
Journal Abbr The abbreviated title of a journal. When using the Zotero Word or LibreOffice plugins, Zotero can automatically abbreviate titles using the MEDLINE list. Use this field to enter abbreviations using other systems or for generating bibliographies outside of a word processor.
ISBN The International Standard Book Number of a book or other publication.
ISSN The International Standard Serial Number of a periodical or series publiaction.
Field Description
Accessed Date an electronic resource was accessed. Typically filled automatically. You can enter “today,” “yesterday,” and “tomorrow” to quickly enter the corresponding date.
DOI The Digital Object Identifier of an item. For items other than journal articles, the DOI can be stored in Extra. See Citing Fields from Extra below.
URL URL (web-address) where the full item was accessed. Do not use this field for links to catalog records (e.g., libraries or Google Books) or abstracts—these should be instead added as links.
Archive Mainly for archival resources, the archive where an item was found. Also used for repositories, such as government report databases, insitutional repositories, or subject repositories.
Loc. in Archive The location of an item in an archive, such as a box and folder number or other relevant location information from the finding aid. Include the subcollection/call number, box number, and folder number together in this field. For additional tips on citing archival sources in Zotero, see here.
Library Catalog The catalog or database an item was imported from. This field is used, for example, in the MLA citation style. Uses of this field are broader than actual library catalogs.
Call Number The call number of an item in a library. For citing archival sources, also include the Call Number in Loc. in Archive (if applicable).

Fields for Reports and Theses

Type
Report Type
The type of report (e.g., “Technical report”, “CPTO Technical Brief”) or thesis (e.g., “Doctoral dissertation”, “Ph.D. thesis”, “Master thesis”; the word 'thesis' or 'dissertation' should be included where applicable).
Report Number The number of a report. Do not include the words “Number”, “No.”, “Nº”, or similar; these will be added automtically by the citation style.
Institution
University
The instituion publishing a report or the university granting the degree for a thesis.

Fields for Presentations and Performances

Proceedings Title The title of the conference proceedings where a conference paper was published.
Conference Name
Meeting Name
The name of the conference or meeting where a conference paper or presentation was presented.
Place For Presentations, the place where the meeting was held or the presentation was made. For Conference Papers (published in a conference proceedings), use this field for the place where the proceedings was published. If separate locations are needed for the publication place and the location of the conference, leave this field blank and add Event Place and Publisher Place fields to Extra (see Citing Fields from Extra below).
Type The type or format of presentation (e.g., “Poster”, “Symposium”, “Invited address”).

Fields for Recordings and Broadcasts

Format
File Type
The format of an audio or video recording (e.g. “DVD,” “CD,” “MP3,” etc.).
Running Time The running time of any type of recording. Enter with the unit (e.g., 120 mins).
Program Title The title of a radio of TV show of which an episode is part (e.g., “This American Life” or “60 Minutes”).
Episode Number The episode number of a pdocast or TV/radio broadcast.
Network The network broadcasting a TV or radio show.
Label The recording label distributing an audio recording in a market.
Distributor The organization distributing a film in a market.
Studio The studio producing a video recording.
Genre The genre of film (e.g., “horror”).

Fields for Images, Artwork, and Maps

Medium The type of artwork or figure or the medium it was created with (e.g., “Watercolor painting”, “Wood sculpture”, “X-ray Crystallograph”, “Scatterplot”).
Artwork Size The dimensions of the artwork or figure.
Scale The scale of a map or model.
Type For maps, a description of the specific type or genre of map.

Fields for Primary Sources and Personal Communications

Medium For interviews, the format in which an interview was recorded (e.g., “Audio Recording”, “Video Recording”, “Transcript”).
Type For letters, a description of the specific type or purpose of letter (e.g., “Private correspondance). For manuscripts, a description of the type or status of the manuscript (e.g., “Unpublished manuscript”, “Manuscript submitted for publication”, “Working paper”).
Subject The title of an email.

Fields for Websites

Website Title
Blog Title
The title of the blog or website containing a post or specific web page.
Forum/Listserv Title The forum or listserv where a post was made.
Website Type Rarely used. Describes the genre of a webpage such as “personal blog” or “intranet”.
Post Type A description of the specific type of forum post (e.g., “Tweet” or “Facebook comment”).

Fields for Software

Version The version of a computer program.
System The operating system or platform a computer program is written for.
Company The organization publishing a computer program.
Language The programming language a computer program is written in. Note that Computer Program uses the Language field differently than other items.

Additional Fields

Rights* The copyright terms, license, or release status for an item.
Date Added The date and time an item was added in Zotero. This field is filled automatically.
Date Modified The date and time an item was last modified in Zotero. This field is filled and updated automatically.
Extra Free field for storing additional information. You can also store additional variables not included in an item’s fields that can be used when making citations and bibliographies . See Citing Fields from Extra below.

For additional and more flexible support for citing legal materials, see Legal Citations.

Bill Number
Code
Code Volume
Section Section of a bill or statute.
Code Pages
Legislative Body* The legislative body (parliament, senate, etc.) debating a bill, holding a hearing, or passing legislation.
Session The session of a legislative body.
History Resources related to the procedural history of a legal case or legislation.
Case Name The title of a legal case.
Court The court where a legal case was argued.
Date Decided The date a legal case was decided.
Docket Number
Reporter
Reporter Volume
First Page
Committee The committee holding a hearing.
Document Number
Country The country issuing a patent.
Assignee
Issuing Authority
Patent Number
Filing Date
Issue Date
Application Number
Priority Numbers
References
Legal Status
Name of Act The full title of a statute.
Code Number
Public Law Number
Date Enacted

Item Creators

Creator types marked with an asterisk (*) cannot be used in citations.

Author The principal author or creator of a work. Enter authors (and other creators) in the order that they should be cited.
Enter names of persons in two-field (Last/Family, First/Given) mode. Enter names of institutions or organizations in one-field mode.
Editor The editor of an item or the broader publication an item is part of (e.g., book, journal). If a distinction is drawn between the textual editor and the managing editor/publishing editor/editorial director (Directeur de la Publication in French), use editor for the textual editor and enter Editorial Director in Extra. See Citing Fields from Extra below.
Series Editor The overseeing editor of a series of items.
Translator The translator of an item. If the same person is both the editor and translator of a work, enter their name as both an Editor and a Translator in separate fields.
Contributor* Other individuals or entities associated with a work that should not be included in citations (e.g., individuals listed after “with” on a book's cover). Used as the author for Hearing items.
Reviewed Author The name of the author whose work is being reviewed.
Artist The creator of a piece of artwork or a figure. The author for Artwork items.
Performer The individual performing on an audio recording. The author for Audio Recording items.
Composer The composer of the music on an audio recording.
Words By* The indivdual who wrote the words in an audio recording (e.g., the lyricist or speechwriter).
Cast Member* A member of the cast of a broadcast or performance.
Director The director of a broadcast or recording. The author for Film Recording, Video Recording, Radio Broadcast, and TV Broadcast items.
Producer* A producer for a film, recording, or broadcast.
Scriptwriter* The person writing the script for a film or broadcast.
Podcaster The host of a podcast. The author for Podcast items.
Guest* A guest on a podcast, radio broadcast, or TV broadcast.
Cartographer The principal creator of a map. The author for Map item.
Programmer The programmer for a computer program. The author for Computer Program items.
Presenter The person giving a presentation. The author for Presentation items.
Interview With The person being interviewed. The author for Interview items.
Interviewer The person asking questions during an interview.
Commenter* An individual commenting on a blog post.
Recipient The person recieving a letter, email, or message.
Sponsor The principal author of a bill or piece of legislation. The author for Bill and Legislation items.
Cosponsor* Cosponsors or endorsers of a bill or piece of legislation.
Counsel* The counsel arguing a legal case.
Inventor The creator of an invention. The author for Patent items.
Attorney/Agent* The attorney or agent representing an inventor when filing a patent.

Role Labels for Media Creators

For citations to films, recordings, and broadcasts, Zotero currently has limited to support for labeling producers, scriptwriters, and some other Creator roles.

To label directors, leave the main Zotero field blank (or enter the names as Contributor) and enter the director names using Director in Extra. See Citing Fields from Extra below.

All Creator roles (Director, Producer, Scriptwriter, etc.) can also be labelled by entering the names using the default author role for the item (Performer for Audio Recording, Podcaster for Podcast, and Director for Film, Radio Broadcast, TV Broadcast, and Video Recording) and adding the appropriate labels in parentheses after the authors' first names—e.g., MacNaughton || Ian (Producer). Note that the labels will be rendered verbatim in citations; enter abbreviated terms (e.g., “Prod.”) here as needed.

See also Media Creator Roles

Additional Item Types and Fields

Citeable Item Types not Included in Zotero

These item types are not yet formally supported in Zotero. For citation purposes, you can convert an item of a different type to one of these types by entering them in the Extra field in this format: Type: csl-type Type: dataset Type: pamphlet

Item Type CSL Type
Dataset dataset A raw dataset.
Figure figure A figure included in a scientific or academic work.
Musical Score musical_score The written score for a muscial work.
Pamphlet pamphlet An informally-published work. Typically smaller and less technical than a Report.
Book Review review-book A review of a book. Enter these as Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper Article, depending on where they were published, by providing a “Reviewed Author” creator.
Treaty treaty A legal treaty between two nations.

Citeable Fields not Included in Zotero

These item fields are not yet formally supported in Zotero. For citation purposes, you can convert an item of a different type to one of these types by entering them in the Extra field in this format: CSL Variable: Value PMID: 123456 Status: in press Original Date: 1886-04-01 Director: Kubrick || Stanley

Field CSL Variable
PMID PMID The PubMed identifier.
PMCID PMCID The PubMed Central identifier.
Status status The publication status of an item (e.g., “forthcoming”, “in press”, “advance online publication”).
Submitted Date Submitted The date an item was submitted for publication.
Reviewed Title Reviewed Title The title of a reviewed work.
Chapter Number Chapter Number The number of the chapter within a book.
Archive Place Archive Place The geographic location of an archive.
Event Date Event Date The date an event took place. Enter in ISO format (year-month-day).
Event Place Event Place The geographic location of an event.
Original Date Original Date The original date an item was published. Enter in ISO format (year-month-day).
Original Title Original Title The original title of a work (e.g., the untranslated title).
Original Publisher Original Publisher The publisher of the original version of an item (e.g., the untranslated version).
Original Publisher Place Original Publisher Place The geographic location of the publisher of the original version of an item (e.g., the untranslated version).
Original Author Original Author A type of Creator. The original creator of a work.
Director Director A type of Creator. The director of a film, recording, or broadcast. In Zotero, “Director” is mapped to CSL author. If you need special labels for directors—“(Dir.)”, enter the Director label in Extra.
Editorial Director Editorial Director A type of Creator. The managing editor of a publication (“Directeur de la Publication” in French).
Illustrator Illustrator A type of Creator. The illustrator of a work.

Citing Fields from Extra

If a Zotero item type is missing fields that are needed for citations, it is possible to add these fields to the Extra field.

Enter each variable on a separte line at the top of the Extra field in the following format: CSL Variable: Content

For example: DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02591-07 Original Date: 1824 PMCID: PMC3531190

With the exception of Item Type (CSL Type) and Date variables (CSL Issued, etc.), variables entered in Extra will not override corresponding values entered in proper Zotero fields.

Dates

Dates entered in Extra will override the date entered in Zotero's Date field. Dates must be entered in ISO format (year-month-day). Date ranges can be entered in this format: Issued: 2001-12-15/2001-12-31

Names

For Creator variables, separate two-field names entered in Extra with two vertical bar characters: '||' like this: Editorial Director: De Gaulle || Charles