Installing Better BibTeX

Better BibTeX is an add-on extension for Zotero that will allow you to access the shared reference library directly and conveniently when writing notes and other documents. The extension serves two essential functions: it (1) assigns a unique “citation key” to each reference in the library and (2) automatically exports and keeps up-to-date a bibliography file on your computer that can be used to cite sources as you write.

Install Better BibTeX

Download the extension file (*.xpi) from GitHub here and then follow these installation instructions.

Zotero Settings

Once Better BibTeX is installed, open Zotero and select Preferences > Better BibTeX (on Mac) or Edit > Preferences > Better BibTeX (on Windows). Under the Citation keys tab, ensure that the “Citation key format” is entered as auth.lower+year+shorttitle(3,3).

Initial Export

The final step to setup Better BibTeX is to run an initial export of the shared reference library data to a reference file on your local computer. You only need to do this once–after that, Zotero will keep the reference file up to date with any additions or changes you or others make to the shared reference library.

After selecting the radish library in the left-hand pane of Zotero, click File > Export Library. Then select “Better CSL JSON” under “Format” and ensure that the Keep updated box is checked.

Zotero will then ask you to save the export as a file on your computer. You can name this file anything you like and locate it anywhere in your local filesystem (e.g. a file called “radish” in a new folder, Documents/Bibtex/). Click “Save”, make a note of where you stored the file, and you’re all done.