Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Zotero is a bibliography tool for Firefox. Ordinarily, I would not do two tool reviews in a week but this is a very useful tool for citations.

In Zotero, a person can save annotations in various forms for both online and offline use. You can import and export libraries of citations to Zotero, create standard citations for book, book sections,documents, journal and magazine articles,and many more citation forms including podcasts. There is the ability to create new items from the current page as well as saving a link to a current page. There are also standalone notes that one can write.

Let's take Zotero for a spin. I decided to note a wikipedia article about Alan Rickman. I clicked on the Zotero icon in my browser and the interface for the tool popped up. Next, I clicked on the Save Link to Current Page. This gave me an interface that saved the link and also timestamped it. Underneath the timestamp is a blank white area to make a note. I wrote "This is an article about the handsome actor Alan Rickman, second only to the late Jeremy Brett as one of the greatest British actors." (Note: You can copy or cut, then paste from Zotero to Blogger or anything else like e-mail). Next there is a Related link that shows what might be related in one's library and a tagging function.
Zotero saves not only the citation but when you open Zotero again, you can click on the web link and go directly to the cited article.

Right-clicking on an item brings up several more options to create a bibliography in various formats such as IEEE, Chicago, Vancouver et cetera. This can be exported to RTF, HTML, Printed, or to the computer's Clipboard. Zotero also can generate a report in the browser if you choose to click the option Generate Report.
Zotero can be added as a plugin in some versions of Open Office and in Microsoft Word. Check the compatibility table for more information.

This is definitely a tool that is necessary for Firefox. Be sure to add it to your browser.

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