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We use Zotero for citation management!

Install Zotero[edit]

We recommend installing Zotero on your desktop as well as the "connector" for your browser. You can download the software and browser plugin (for Chrome, Firefox or Safari) from the zotero website. You'd also want to register for an account if you don't already have one.

If you were using Zotero before, you should upgrade to Zotero 5.0. You will need to download this from because it was released recently and its not in the distributions yet. It's important to be running the new version. This will break support for BetterBibLaTeX but is also fixes most of the bugs that required this in the first place.

Group Directory[edit]

We have a group directory that we use to collect citations for all shared projects: the Community Data Science Collective Zotero repository.. The directory is private, so ask a member of the collective to invite you. The directory is organized by collections (visualized), with each folder aggregating citations for a particular project or topic.

Adding and Organizing References[edit]

The process to add something cleanly is complicated but should always include the following steps:

  1. Sync your local Zotero repository (by clicking the little green symbol that looks like a recycle sign in the top right). This may not be necessary all the time, but it's better to do it!
  2. Check to see if it's in the CDSC shared folder by clicking on the top level of the shared group and searching. If it is already there, just drag it into your new subfolder for your project. If it's not, click back on your sub-folder and add it.
  3. Once you've added, change the title to sentence case. You can do this by: (a) Right clicking on Title → Transform Text → Sentence Case (b) you will then need to capitalize any proper nouns (e.g., Scratch, Wikipedia) as well as anything immediately following a ":". This is important because software like BibTeX/BibLaTeX can change from "Sentence case" to "Title Case" automatically, but not the other way around. APA 6 requires sentence case.
  4. Ensure that there's a DOI for your entry if it's necessary. Some publishers and conferences (like AAAI publications which publishes ICWSM) do not have DOIs but these are extremely rare. If your publication does not have a DOI, it needs to have a URL because APA 6 requires one or the other.
  5. Edit & clean the Publisher field. According to APA 6 style we should drop common words like "Press," "Publisher," "Inc." as well as first names (i.e., just Wiley, not John Wiley Inc.)
  6. Edit & clean the Place field. APA 6 style requires "City, State" within the USA and "City, Country" outside. So, it's "New York, New York" for the ACM and "Cambridge, UK" for University of Cambridge Press.
  7. Remove anything in the "Extra" field unless it's something you want to be printed every time. Sometimes things like "ⓒ JSTOR" sneaks in.
  8. Make sure that there's a PDF attached and then rename the PDF to Name-YYYY-Short_title.pdf. You can do this by: Right click on PDF → Rename File from Parent Metadata
  9. Ensure that there aren't extraneous files attached. Just delete anything that doesn't look critical or useful. Keep in mind that anything attached will show up in fulltext searches which can be a reason to either leave something or remove it depending on what it is.

Tips and Tricks[edit]

  • In Zotero, folders are not like traditional folders. They are like tags. Do not add things if they are already there!
  • Holding down Alt is extremely useful! It will show you which folders the selected item is in!
  • When you're done adding a bunch of things, look at the Duplicate pseudo-folder underneath the Community Data Science Collective folder.


If you want to create a BibTex file from the citations in your folder, right-click your folder in the desktop application, and click "Export Collection". Select BibLaTeX as the format and save to a location of your choice. Be sure to rename the file refs.bib so that it works with the paper-building workflow.

You'll need make, our TeX setup to make this work.

If you are using the latest versions of mako's templates[1] you should be using BibLaTeX.

You should see these lines:



That should be it! You should be ready to go! Test it out by running. make refs.bib and make pdf