Today I finished my column for the next issue of the Collaborative Librarianship Journal and in it I talk about collaborative research tools. One of those tools is Zotero and I have plenty more to share about Zotero so I thought I’d share a review of the newest version with you all.
Short version of my review – Zotero Rocks!!
First, if you haven’t heard of or used Zotero, you are missing out on one of the most handy research tools available online today. Zotero installs into your Firefox browser and lets you save both citation and full text information about any resource you can find on the web. Many popular OPACs or research databases actually have support built in for Zotero meaning you simply click a button on your address bar and the citation (and full text if available) is saved right to your library. In the newest version you can even set up your local copy to sync with the Zotero site for safekeeping and sharing. I have set up a public library on Zotero so that everyone can see what resources I’ve been saving and hopefully benefit from the articles/web pages/etc that I’m finding.
The other great thing about the new Zotero are the community functions. There are now group libraries where multiple people can manage bibliographies together. One of these such bibliographies is the Free/Libre and Open Source Software and Libraries Bibliography, a bibliography that was started by Brenda Chawner in 2002 and maintained as a static web page until recently. Brenda was able to import her bibliography into Zotero and because of the collaborative nature of Zotero I am now able to help her update and maintain this amazing resource (a resource that I constantly refer students to when teaching open source).
While I do give Zotero two thumbs up, I have noticed a few glitches with the new version and popular database sites, this means that sometimes I have to enter the citation by hand instead of using the handy button provided in my browser, but this is a small price to pay for the resulting convenience and collaborative power afforded by Zotero.
If you haven’t used Zotero or if you feel like you could probably learn more, you should check out Jason Puckett’s research guide – it’s a wealth of information and well worth reading if you want to get the most out of Zotero.