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Citation Management Tools: Storage

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Zotero Institution FAQ

What is Zotero Institution, and how does it relate to storage limits? 
Zotero Institution is an unlimited storage plan for the citation management system Zotero. For individual users who do not have access to Zotero Institution, free Zotero cloud storage for PDFs and other files is normally capped at 300 MB, above which individuals are required to pay additional yearly fees. Instead, with Penn Libraries’ subscription to Zotero Institution, all current students, faculty, and staff at Penn have free unlimited storage. Penn alumni are not included in the storage plan. 


What action do I need to take to make use of Zotero Institution? 
Ensure a Penn-affiliated email address is one of the email addresses associated with your account. All Penn email address domains, such as,, and, qualify, with the exception of  

Add your Penn-affiliated email address at under “Manage Email Addresses.” Zotero will automatically update your storage to unlimited. This change should occur within minutes of adding a Penn-affiliated email address to the account, and will be indicated on your Storage settings at  


Do I need to pay for Zotero Institution? 
No, individual users do not need to pay any additional fees. All current students, faculty, and staff at the University of Pennsylvania automatically have access to Zotero Institution unlimited storage through Penn Libraries’ licensing. 


When does Zotero Institution go into effect at Penn? 
Zotero Institution went into effect on June 8, 2023.


What if I currently use a personal email address to manage my Zotero account? 
Each Zotero account can be affiliated with multiple email addresses, so users who currently manage Zotero with a personal email address can add their Penn-affiliated email address as an additional contact on their account at under “Manage Email Addresses.” Your Penn email does not need to be your primary email address. In fact, we encourage you to include a personal email address as your primary account. This is the account which will be notified to periodically re-verify your account, so students after graduation would want a non-Penn email address to receive that notification. 

As noted above, all Penn domains (e.g.,,,, etc.) qualify as Penn email addresses for Zotero Institution access, with the exception of 


I am currently paying for personal storage for my Zotero account. If I stop paying for personal storage, will my files go away? 
Once your account is associated with Zotero Institution, your personal storage plan will not renew. Your account will be associated with Zotero Institution, and no files will be deleted. Entities using Zotero Lab will have the option to manually not renew their own storage plans – see response for Zotero Lab users below. 


I manage a Lab, and we currently pay for Zotero Lab. How are we impacted? 
Entities using Zotero Lab have the option to manually not renew their own storage plans at However, Zotero Lab accounts at Penn often cover labs with both Penn and non-Penn users. Non-Penn users will not be covered under Penn’s Zotero Institution plan, so managers of Zotero Lab who cancel their subscriptions should notify non-Penn lab affiliates that their unlimited storage access will end. If a Lab’s documents are stored in a Zotero group library owned by a Penn user, however, storage access will be facilitated by the group owner and non-Penn affiliates will not lose access to those documents. We encourage managers of Zotero Lab accounts to get in touch with us at with any questions. 


What will happen to my Zotero storage after I graduate or leave Penn? 
Zotero Institution only applies to current students, faculty and staff. It does not cover alumni, and email addresses with will not qualify for Zotero Institution unlimited storage. Alumni who use over 300 MB of storage will either need to download their files to their local computers or begin paying for personal storage plans. Zotero users will be given a grace period after graduation or departure and notified by Zotero, via their primary email address, before any files are removed from Zotero’s cloud storage. For this reason, we encourage users to use their personal email addresses as primary addresses on Zotero accounts, and Penn email addresses as secondary. 


I’m a hospital affiliate. Do I have access to Zotero Institution? 
Staff with a current Penn affiliation, along with a current PennKey and Penn email address, will have access to Zotero Institution. Please see the “How do I access electronic resources?” section of our Circulation guide for hospital affiliates for a full explanation. 


How does Zotero Institution impact Zotero group libraries? 
According to Zotero’s storage FAQ, “Any groups that you own will draw from your storage subscription. Any members of those groups may freely access any stored files.” If you are a part of a Zotero group and not listed as the owner, file storage is drawn from the owner’s storage plan. If a current Penn student, faculty, or staff is part of a Zotero group and is listed as the owner, storage will be drawn from Penn’s unlimited storage plan and even non-affiliates will have access to documents in the group library.  

To learn more about Zotero groups, including transferring group ownership if desired, please visit Zotero’s documentation at


Whom should I contact if I have more questions about Zotero at Penn? 
Please contact us at for assistance. 

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