The advantage of syncing your Zotero library is that you’ll have an up-to-date copy of your library that you can access from anywhere. This is true even if you’re using computer that does not have Zotero installed. Just go to Zotero.org and log in to your account. (If you need to register for an account, click here.)
All you need to know about syncing is here, but I have provided a brief summary. In the future, I will also post a video with this information.
For syncing, there are two options:
- Sync using Zotero’s servers. Zotero allows you to sync all your metadata using their servers for free. The only issue is that if you want to also sync your PDF documents, you will quickly hit their 300 MB limit. However, Zotero does offer reasonably priced storage plans. For $20 per year, you can back up 2 GB of files. If you are willing to pay, this is easiest solution.
- Sync using another WebDAV server. There are several data storage companies that will allow you to open free accounts that have WebDAV compatibility (here’s a list). Once you’ve done that, you can configure Zotero to sync with that account. This is covered in the Zotero documentation. It is a little harder to set up than option #1, but it’s free.
Backing Up Your Data
Remember that your Zotero library is stored in a folder on your computer. As long as you are diligent about backing up all the data on your computer, you will also back up your library. If you want to back up your library by itself, consult this tutorial from Northwestern University and look over the Zotero documentation.