How to use Citations on your Blot site

I’m currently using to host this site. Blot provides an easy(ish) way to post to your site if you’re the sort that likes to write in local markdown files. You can use Dropbox, Google Drive, or Git to publish your files to Blot and, faster than you can blink, it’s published.

One of the features of Blot is support for Citations. This requires publishing a bibliography file that contains all of your sources, then you can reference the bibliography in your text using a citation key.

I wasn’t sure what this all meant at first, and then I spent some time on setting it up myself.

In my case, I’m using Zotero for my references. I assume this could work with other reference managers that output a Bibliography file that can be read by Blot.

Setup Zotero

  • Download and install Zotero.
  • Download the Zotero Better Bibtex add-on.
  • Open Zotero, and open Tools > Add-ons.
  • In the settings dropdown on the right, click Install add-on from file.
  • Select the Better BibTeX XPI file you downloaded previously.
  • Select Install.
  • In Zotero, go to File > Export Library.
  • Select Better BibTex and check Keep updated box.

A screenshot of the Better BibText Add-on Export option in ZoteroA screenshot of the Better BibText Add-on Export option in Zotero

  • Click OK.
  • Select the root folder where your markdown files are stored. I’m using Obsidian to manage and publish my Blot markdown files, so I’ll save it to the root of my Obsidian vault.

Update your Markdown file

Next, we need to add a reference to your bibliography file into your markdown file so that Blot knows where to look. This is done in the markdown YAML at the top of your page.

It will look something like this:

Screenshot of Bibliography property in ObsidianScreenshot of Bibliography property in Obsidian

The first three dashes must be in the first line of your file. Then you add your properties, then close it by adding another three dashes, followed by another line break.

If you’re using Obsidian, you may be editing the properties through the application and not directly in the markdown.

Example Obsidian Properties that include a Bibliography property.Example Obsidian Properties that include a Bibliography property.

You can ignore the Summary and tags properties. These are only for reference. The important property is the Bibliography property. It will contain a link to the BIB file that is being exported from Zotero. I named my file Zotero.bib, and it is in my Obsidian root folder, which means I have a slash in the front to ensure, no matter what file is using it, it can access it through this absolute path.

Using the Citation Key

Next, we can use any citation keys from our Bibliography file as needed in our markdown page.

The Citation Key is a short reference that can be used to find the full Bibliography. On this page, I’m going to make a reference to the Wikipedia page about citations. I’ll add this page as a reference in Zotero, and then I can see all the properties.

Zotero Wikipedia Citation propertiesZotero Wikipedia Citation properties

The Citation Key is at the top. In this case, it’s Citation2024”.

Now, If I want to reference this Bibliography from my text, I can add [@Citation2024], including the square brackets in my markdown. That’s it! (Citation” 2024)

When I publish my markdown file, as well as the updated .bib file, Blot should automatically turn my citation key into an in-text citation in the format of (“Citation”, 2024), and also add the full Bibliography to the bottom of my page. Check out the bottom of this page to find out.

Making your Bibliography look nice

By default, the Bibliography added to the bottom of your page may blend in with everything else. You can add some style to it by adding some CSS to your Blot theme’s CSS file.

Here is what my CSS looks like, and you can see the output at the bottom of this page.

#refs {
    border-top: 1px dotted #b3bcc9;
    padding-top: 15px;
    opacity: .8;
    font-size: .8em;

#refs div {
    margin-bottom: 20px;


To add another example to this page, I’m going to reference the book APA Style & Citations For Dummies, just so we can see what it looks like. (Giampalmi 2021)

  • I added the book to Zotero.
  • I added my Citation Key to the end of the sentence above in the format: [@giampalmiApaStyleCitations2021].
  • I published my files to Blot. Since I’m using Git, this is a manual step for me.
Citation.” 2024. Wikipedia, June.
Giampalmi, Joseph J. 2021. Apa Style & Citations For Dummies. 1st ed. Indianapolis: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

June 28, 2024
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