Header Ads

Zotero: maintaining online bibliographies

Zotero is a bibliographic application developed at George Mason University, and it lets you manage, share, and export bibliographic information on the internet and locally on all your computers.  It's not the only package of its kind, but I think it's the best of the lot.

Zotero started life, and still works as, a browser plugin for Firefox.  It's very clever because it recognizes (most) web pages that contain citable documents, and lets you add that resource to your zotero library with one click.  You can of course add items manually if you want, and if you have a PDF or other file that contains a citable work, you can load it into the zotero plugin with drag-and-drop, and then have zotero scan it and search the internet for the bibliographic information to match it.  You can also tag any resource however you like, to make searching easier and faster.

You can create collections of resources and share them with other people.  This is great for students who are working on team projects, and also for researchers and academics who want to share resources with their students and colleagues.

And of course, you can export selected items in formats consistent with a variety of document processing packages, so you can largely automate the construction of the bibliographies in your own publications.

The one big problem with zotero used to be that it only worked with Firefox.  Many people had complained about this but its developers were adamant in not wanting to support different versions for different browsers.  As a Google Chrome user, I really found it annoying to have to keep Firefox open just for the sake of zotero.

But then they came up with a novel solution: create a standalone version that doesn't require a browser, and just write tiny, little plugins for the browsers that talk to the standalone version.  Granted, the standalone version is still in beta, but I've been using it regularly for quite some time and it seems to work just fine, almost all the time.  Occasionally, it has difficulty accessing the zotero servers - but that is quite rare.

There's a lot of useful information about zotero on their website, and I would encourage you to consider it if you're looking for a web-enabled way to manage your bibliographic information.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.