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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jesse.
Zotero is very well integrated into the Flock browser, which is the Mozilla code base married to web 2.0 principles. I'm still trying to get to the bottom of it all, but it looks like this could be a very fluid and powerful platform for scientists who are overwhelmed with information from hundreds of sources.