FYI is a weekly column dedicated to presenting resources and other topics of interest to students.
Author: Center for History and New Media
Type of Resource: Firefox/Browser Plugin
Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself.
Comments: Have you ever written a research paper only to realize you spent almost as much time on the citations as the paper itself? Have you ever tried to decipher your own handwriting about a source only to realize it’s utterly incomprehensible? Have you ever started to compile a “work cited” page the night before a paper is due, only to find that you didn’t have a crucial piece of bibliographical information? Fear no more, Zotero, a handy dandy Firefox Plugin, can solve these problems and more.
Functionally, Zotero is a bibliography maker (like EndNote) on crack. It stores and organizes your sources and generate bibliographies in various formats. It is also capable of “grabbing” bibliographic data directly from the pages you are viewing along with a searchable screenshot (so you can easily find where each piece of information came from). This is especially good with some article databases like Ebsco. Other functions include inserting citations in Word or Open Office, syncing across multiple computers, and sharing “libraries” of sources. One caveat is that it only works for Firefox, though a standalone version designed to work with other browsers is in the works.
I have used Zotero extensively both in and out of school, and I believe it is a vital part of any student or researcher’s tool-kit. And with its highly affordable price tag (free!) there is no reason not to take it for a spin!
(Click here if you need help getting started.)