Zotero anyone?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by MichaelOliver, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Anyone have experience with the bibliographic research tool Zotero? Anyone have an opinion on its utility? At the suggestion of another member, I have just downloaded it. It appears to be quite powerful, but I think there will be a learning curve involved here. I would appreciate any tips.

    It appears to be optimized for web research. Has anyone used it to store conventional reading and research from physical books? How well does that work?

    Which tool works best for conventional reading and research?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2009
  2. Woho

    Woho New Member

    I use Zotero quite consistently in the following way:
    First I have a home station (xp) and a netbook (ubuntu) and store the Zotero library on a USB stick. This allows me to switch from one to another flawlessly. Since it integrates with Firefox, I usually look up (on my home station) physical books through the library of congress site http://catalog.loc.gov/ (the little book button next to the address line adds it to the Zotero library). They are from my experience the best pre-formatted ones (Amazon/Google Books lacks often esp. the location of the publisher). For Journals / Chapters I Google their headlines and most are available on some Journal Syndication Site (e.g. Springer, Ebsco) which have the Zotero button. This way I include them to the library. Then I just add my notes (usually on the netbook) while I'm reading around. I also try to keep folders for every paper or chapter I'm working on. This helps to keep it all quite quick accessible.

    (I have to confess that I don't follow it on projects with a limited scope of quoted material. There I use a somewhat more "dirty" approach. I write the paper and put instead of authors a placeholder (book/journal title or filename). After polishing it up, I go through each one, add it to Zotero by the process described and above replace the placeholder by the dynamic Zotero elements (by doing this I avoid filling up Zotero with unrelated material which I only read but did not finally use).

    In the end the main advantage from my perspective is primarily in the consistent formatting done by Zotero, the possibility to use almost any Citation Style and its generation of the Bibliography. I always invest quite some time polishing up assignments since I suspect if the grading is done under time pressure style might have quite some influence on the subjective perception of substance.
    I hope that somewhat helped ;)
  3. Very good. Thanks so much. Looks like Zotero is going to be the just the ticket. I appreciate the tips on using it, especially since they are coming from someone who has used it to do serious research.

    You mention being concerned about filling it up with citations you won't ultimately use, but doesn't it have search and filtering functions that mitigate that issue?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2009
  4. Woho

    Woho New Member

    I don't really "tag" articles and chapters and don't categorize them by subject. Unfortunately headlines are sometimes not that much saying about its actual content. Even so Zotero has a Pdf Indexing function, it doesn't of cause work with offline sources. I noticed that my mental cluster works usually by "themes", so when I search for a particular source, I usually remember what the assignment or paper was I used it for. And the less chunk there is around, the better the chances for finding it.
  5. Does Zotero work on eBooks? My university is moving toward using many eBooks as the text for the course. I wonder if it would work as an eBook reader or would at least interface with one.

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