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Creating a public digital library for curating and sharing resources with others in your life

· 3 min read
Quinn McHugh
Quinn McHugh


This post provides some basic instructions for creating a public Zotero library for sharing resources with friends, colleagues, and groups you're apart of.


Have you ever been in conversation with someone and said "Oh! There's a couple articles I think you'd love. Let me email them to you."

Then, months later, you find yourself talking about the same subject with different person and end up digging those same 10 articles to send to them too?

If so, you've come to the right post.

Using Zotero, a free & open source reference manager, let's learn how to alleviate this resource sharing calamity by creating our own public Zotero library.

With a public Zotero library, you'll be able to create collections of resources you've found (including bibliographic information) and send just a single URL to the person you wish to share a set of articles with. From there, that person will be able to download those resources in a variety of formats, including CSV and JSON.


Creating your library

  1. (If necessary) Create an account at
  2. Log in to your Zotero account.
  3. Navigate to the Zotero Groups page.
  4. Create a new Zotero group
    1. Give your group a name (e.g. "Quinn McHugh [Public]")
    2. Select Public, Open Membership for your Group Type
    3. Make sure... 1. Library Reading is set to Anyone on the internet 2. Library Editing is set to Only group admins
  5. Go to "Group Settings" and update as you wish.
  6. Click the name of your group near the top of the page.
  7. Click "Group Library". - This is your public library. Anything you add here will be viewable and downloadable by others. - It should look something like mine:

To add items to your newly created library, please see Adding Items to Zotero.

Sharing your library with others

To share your library, simply send the URL of your library to whoever you'd like. If you wish to send a specific collection, click on the collection in the left sidebar and send them that URL instead.

As of December 2022, Zotero online libraries cannot be embedded in websites using an HTML <iframe>.

Optionally, you can embed a list of recently added items using BibBase to give visitors a sense for what you've been interested in, as I have done here.

Learn more about Zotero

To learn more about Zotero's other features and capabilities, please see the Zotero Quick Start Guide