Zotero quick intro

Educause published a great quick reference about Zotero in September 2008.  It answers 7 main questions about Zotero:

  1. What is it?

    A research tool for managing online references.

  2. Who’s doing it?

    Software reads bib info from online locations like the Library of Congress, LexisNexis, Amazon, and JSTOR as well as many other Web Sites.

    Used by anyone who does online research including undergrads, graduates, faculty and researchers.

  3. How does it work?

    A download that is embedded in Firefox, Netscape 9.0 or Flock that appears as a button at the bottom right of the browser window.

    Application allows users to easily add, organize, annotate, and export resources, sometimes with one click.

  4. Why is it significant?

    Users have their own repository to store and organize the whole body of their research.

    It also allows for easy use and connections of those stored citations and documents.

  5. What are the downsides?

    Limited to Firefox and doesn’t work with Internet Explorer.

    Located on one computer.

    (Not in this document, but current lawsuit from the makers of EndNote, courtesy of Disruptive Library Technology Jester, threatens the new release of Zotero).

  6. Where is it going?

    Developers are working to make an online version in order to add availability from any computer.

    Format is good for scholars who want to use and cite the variety of media on the Internet.

  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning?

    Facilitates and encourages proper citation.

    Located in environment where online research takes place; the browser.

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Free citation tools

While many libraries with ample budgets use citation tools like EndNote and RefWorks, there are alternatives for libraries that need to save every dime.

Three of those options are Zotero, a Firefox browser add-on, and two other Web-based services, Connotea and CiteULike.

Zotero is an open source project created by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and is supported by grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Studies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It is in the midst of a lawsuit imposed upon them by Thomson Reuters, the creators of EndNote.

Connotea is provided by the Nature publishing group and is focused towards scientists, clinicians and researchers, CiteULike is supported by the Springer publishing group and is also heavily populated by scientific users. These two are also similar because they have social networking features like tagging and the ability to view, share and add other peoples citations to your collection.