Thursday, March 27, 2008

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh]

This week's software tip is about Zotero, an extension for the browser Firefox. Many thanks to Christoph Weber of TSRI's Research Computing department who discovered and shared it with me. Zotero is a free, easy-to-use yet robust research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways.

Zotero includes some of the best features of older reference manager software (like EndNote), has the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references. Plus it’s compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.

Since this very cool extension lives in your Firefox browser, it can transmit information to, and receive information from other web services and applications; and it can communicate with software running on your computer such as Microsoft Word. Zotero can even be used offline. And I did mention it’s FREE.

Here’s where to download Zotero:

A good way to get acquainted with Zotero is by watching the ztour video found on the Zotero home page. The program is pretty intuitive, but if you need a little guidance, there is a user friendly Quick Start Guide pdf that can be downloaded. And there are screencast tutorials on the support page demonstrating many of the basic functions of Zotero.

Zotero is a production of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It is funded by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Look for it to grow over the next year from an already helpful browser extension into a full-fledged tool for digital research and collaboration.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Delay Sending a Message in Outlook

Have you ever sent off an email only to realize you forgot to add something, or that you shouldn't have sent it period? A way of preventing email errors is to create a rule that delays your email by 2 or 3 minutes, just enough time for you to realize that you've made a mistake. However, you need to have a Microsoft Exchange account for this rule to work.

If you have a Microsoft Exchange account, you can delay delivery of an individual message, or you can delay the delivery of all messages using Rules by having them held in the Outbox for a specified time after clicking Send. Here's how you do it:

Delay delivery of an individual message

  1. In the message, click Options.
  2. Under Delivery options, select the Do Not deliver before check box, and then click the delivery date and time you want.

Delay delivery of all messages (watch the video)

  1. On the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts, and then click New Rule.
  2. Select Start from a blank rule.
  3. In the Step 1: Select when messages should be checked box, click Check messages after sending, and the click Next.
  4. In the Step1: Select condition(s) list, select any options you want, and then click Next. If you do not select any check boxes, a confirmation dialog box appears. Clicking Yes applies this rule to all messages you send.
  5. In the Step 1: Select action(s) list, select defer delivery by a number of minutes. Delivery can be delayed up to two hours.
  6. In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click on an underlined value) box, click the underlined phrase a number of and enter the number of minutes you want messages held before sending.
  7. Click OK, and then click Next.
  8. Select any exceptions, and then click Next.
  9. In the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule box, type a name for the rule.
  10. Click Finish.