How to connect Zotero to Notion


Last week a subscriber asked me if I had any information about using Notion and Zotero. I never heard of Zotero before so I googled it and... God! if I had this when I was in college!

You can get Zotero here and use it to manage research materials for papers, academic projects, journal articles, etc.

Its ability to save web pages and attach PDFs or notes to bibliographic records makes it a useful tool for anyone needing to organize a wide range of sources and reference materials accurately.

Zotero’s group libraries feature is particularly useful for collaborative projects and sharing resources among specific user groups or for public access.

Integrating Zotero with Notion can greatly enhance your research and note-taking workflows, and there are a couple of methods to achieve this synergy.

Syncing through Make

You can use Make (formerly Integromat) to automate the syncing process between Zotero and Notion.

This method is a bit technical and requires setting up a scenario in Make that involves fetching data from Zotero through its API and then creating or updating items in a Notion database based on this data.

Don´t worry! Simone Smerilli wrote an easy-to-follow guide and video on how to create the Make scenario: Centralizing your academic resources.

Step 1: Prepare Your Accounts

  • Ensure you have active accounts and installations of Zotero and Notion.
  • For Zotero, activate or check your Zotero web account, as this is where Make will retrieve data from.
  • In Notion, set up the database you want to sync your Zotero items into, and note down its ID.

Step 2: Create a New Scenario in Make

  • Log into your Make account and create a new scenario.
  • Select Zotero and Notion as the apps you’ll be connecting.

Step 3: Set Up Zotero API Call

  • Configure the HTTP request to fetch items from your Zotero library. You’ll need your Zotero API key and the specific library or collection IDs you want to sync. The Zotero API endpoint typically looks like{userID}/collections/{collectionID}/items
  • Add a filter or condition to process only the newly added or modified items since the last time the scenario ran.

Step 4: Format the Data for Notion

  • Use the data manipulation tools in Make to format the data fetched from Zotero into a structure that matches your Notion database schema.
  • You might need to map fields like title, authors, publication year, etc., from Zotero to corresponding fields in your Notion database.

Step 5: Configure Notion Integration

  • Use the “Create a database item” action in Make for Notion to add new items into your Notion database based on the formatted data.
  • If your scenario involves updating existing items or handling duplicates, configure additional modules in Make accordingly, such as “Search for a database item” or “Update a database item.”

Step 6: Testing and Automation

  • Test the scenario to ensure it runs as expected, making any necessary adjustments.
  • Once satisfied, set the scenario to run automatically at your preferred intervals, ensuring your Zotero library stays synced with your Notion database.

This method is highly customizable and can cater to specific workflows, such as syncing only new resources added to Zotero or deleting resources in Notion when they are removed from Zotero.

This is a flexible and powerful way to keep your academic resources centralized and easily accessible within Notion, but the process is too technical if you´re not familiar with Make, API, and all that.


There is a simpler option for non-techies!

Using the Notero Plugin

The Notero plugin, created by David Hoff-Vanoni, (Get Notero here) is a popular choice for syncing Zotero items and notes into Notion.

David includes a step-by-step guide on how to install, connect, and use Zotero but in case you need an extra helping hand, RedGregory, the legend herself has a blog about it (with gigantic screenshots).

After installing and configuring the plugin in Zotero, you can sync items as they are added or modified within your Zotero collections directly to a Notion database. This includes syncing properties like titles, authors, abstracts, and notes, including PDF annotations.

Notero also allows for the automatic syncing of notes when they are modified, ensuring that your Notion database is always up-to-date with your latest research findings​.

How Notero Works

  • Monitoring Zotero Collections: Notero watches for items being added to or modified within specified Zotero collections. It then performs a series of actions to sync these items with Notion.
  • Creating Notion Pages: For each Zotero item, Notero creates a new page in the designated Notion database, capturing essential properties such as title, authors, abstract, publication details, and more.
  • Tagging and Linking: Items in Zotero are tagged with a ‘notion’ tag and are attached with a link that directs to the corresponding Notion page. This facilitates easy navigation between Zotero and Notion.
  • Syncing Notes and Annotations: Notero is capable of syncing Zotero notes associated with an item into Notion. It also supports syncing annotations (notes and highlights) from PDFs once they are extracted into a Zotero note.
  • Customizable Sync Options: Users can configure Notero to sync items whenever they are modified, and there’s also the flexibility to manually sync items or entire collections to Notion as needed.

Installation and Setup

  • Zotero Compatibility: Notero requires Zotero version 6.0.27 or above and is compatible with Zotero 7.
  • Notion Configuration: Before using Notero, users must set up a Notion database for syncing and create a Notion internal integration to allow communication between Zotero and Notion.
  • Plugin Installation: Users download the Notero plugin from its GitHub page and install it in Zotero. Following installation, users configure Notero preferences within Zotero, specifying the Notion database and integration details for syncing.

Each approach has its advantages: Notero offers a straightforward integration focused on Zotero and Notion, while Make provides broader automation possibilities that can extend beyond just syncing Zotero with Notion. Depending on your specific needs and technical comfort level, either option can significantly streamline your research process.

By leveraging Zotero’s powerful reference management capabilities with Notion’s flexible note-taking and organization tools, researchers, students, and professionals can create a streamlined workflow that significantly enhances productivity and research quality.

The flexibility of Notion databases allows for the customization of research workflows according to individual or project-specific needs. Whether it’s structuring literature reviews, tracking experimental data, or drafting manuscripts, users can design tailored systems that reflect their unique research processes.