It is a good idea to look through the preferences after downloading Zotero to get a better idea of how you can customize the application to better fit your needs. In order to view the preferences, click the gear icon on the top left of the Zotero panel.
Once you open preferences, browse through the different tabs to familiarize yourself with the options available. There are a few important things you need to change in order to get the most out of Zotero. Each important feature is shown below.
Check the box “Automatically attach associated PDFs.” This will store all available PDFs so you can access them at any time through Zotero.
Create a Zotero account if you haven't already created one when you initially downloaded Zotero. Also make sure the box "Sync automatically" is checked. This will ensure that your library will sync up with your online account so you can access your citations from any computer, even if the computer doesn't have Zotero downloaded! Just go to Zotero.org and log in with your account information.
Add the following line into the "Resolver" box as shown in the screenshot below: http://primo-pmtna01.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/openurl/CALS_USM/cals_usm…. You can also simply click "Search for Resolvers" if you are on campus. Two options will show up, always choose the one that says "Cal State San Marcos." This will ensure that Zotero recognizes you as a student at CSUSM and allows you to access library items paid for by your tuition!
One you have updated the preferences, it is time to start capturing citations!