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- 24 October 2014
See also Author impact metrics | Citation management | EndNote Web | Mendeley | Quosa | RefWorks | Scholarship 2.0 | Zotero vs. Mendeley
Zotero is an open-source, free reference management tool that works within your browser. According to Marimbo (2011), Zotero is ...an open-source, cross-platform, all-in-one reference manager, document archiver, citation manager, and collaboration tool. It was developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The name is derived from Albanian meaning "to master". Zotero gathers, organizes and cites sources, papers, fulltext pdfs, web pages, images and other objects.Zotero 3.0 was launched in 2011, but the “classic” version will continue to be available. Zotero 3.0 runs outside of Firefox and other browsers and integrates with scholarly research databases.
In summary, Zotero's features include:
- Ability to extract bibliographic information and citation data from a range of digital sources
- Annotate (tag) and organize citations; flexible notetaking with autosave for enhanced description
- Save information about references, author, title, journal, DOI, and other details
- Create collections; share with others using Groups
- Store files, images, links, and .pdfs; save screenshots of web pages
- Export bibliographies into any text editor using a number of style guide formats
- Use plugins for advanced bibliographies in word processing programs (MS Word; OpenOffice.org)
- View records in personal collection when offline
- Cite records in any language
- Collect citations as you roam the internet
- Save your content to your "library" in a single click
- Share research materials with colleagues using online group libraries
- Zotero 3.0 does not run in your browser pane; Firefox is not required
- Grabs citations with one click; if not installed, connectors can add items to your library (hosted on Zotero's servers)
- Users are allocated 100MB free storage with range of options to upgrade: 1GB storage costs $20 per year, and 5GB costs $60
Thinking of a tool such as Zotero in a networked way makes web 2.0 tool-building not dissimilar from traditional scholarship. True scholarship does not exist on its own and does not exist as disconnected writing. It is a part of a network of thought and all that is active and relevant. In academic endeavours, it is critical to review the existing literature, use citations and put an argument into a context of other ideas and sources (and web 2.0 media). Creating scholarly software that works within the digital ecosystem must be similarly integrative.
One feature of Zotero that enhances its ability to be "social" is the new Zotero Groups. This allows multiple Zotero users to collaborate on one or more collections of citations, add to and change them and the other members of the group are then provided with an updated list the next time Zotero "syncs." And with its new "cloud" storage (online backups of your Zotero collections) and Zotero allows you to access your citation collections from any computer running Firefox.
More about Zotero
Use surges for Zotero in 2010 followed by Mendeley
- Bibliographic records may be imported from other reference tools (EndNote, etc.) in five common formats, including BibTeX
- Import records for non-traditional sources such as wikis and websites, and many resources you already use
- Works well in Google scholar; compatible with medical databases such as MEDLINE, PubMed, and HighWire Press
- Imports records from several major databases that won't work with RefWorks and EndNote, including Factiva and USPTO.
- Helps to organize web screenshots and pdfs; make pdfs searchable by choosing to index them in preferences
- Automatically retrieves pdf metadata, like title and author information.
- Program lives where you already do most of your research, in the Web browser.
- Export your bibliography in HTML, and publish a "smart CV."
- Great for creating bibliographies in OpenOffice.org and MS Word using a custom plugin
- Synchronizes collections among multiple computers & backs up data.
- Offers option to create user profiles and groups, so you can share your collection(s).
- Detects proxy servers automatically, making off-campus access to library databases easier.
- Operates in more than thirty languages
- Some citation errors are said to occur during importing without recommended solutions
- Currently only for use as a Firefox extension; online version is supposedly coming
- Doesn't work in Internet Explorer or Google Chrome
- Doesn't handle large collections very well; program may stall when attempting a large sync
- As with any citation manager, you must check records to ensure accurate importing
- No way to find duplicate records; must be deleted manually - a time-consuming problem
- Cannot import items from written references lists; desired citations must be individually retrieved
What Zotero users say
- Easy to use "user-friendly" and intuitive; introductory videos help users to learn basic tasks quickly
- Zotero is cost-free and involves no licensing; documentation at Zotero.org can be reused
- Zotero.org provides community to support software
- recommended by institutions such as MIT, Stanford, and Yale
- Best reference management tool at CiteFest 2008
- Open and extensible means it may be a resource for students; a way to contribute to open-source communities
- Zotero project developed by scholars with commitment to openness; Zotero makes no claim of ownership or control over users’ work
- UMich’s School of Information got funding to launch information literacy game, Bibliobouts, built around Zotero
- Licensed platforms (RefWorks, EndNote) provide users with similar services but license may end once students graduate
- Committed to data portability and interoperability through open standards; software vendors that employ site-licensing have vested interest in locking users into proprietary formats.
- Zotero makes it easy to migrate data to and from other tools
Academic library documentation
- Ahmed KK, Al Dhubaib BE. Zotero: a bibliographic assistant to researcher. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011;2(4):303-5.
- Butros A, Taylor S. Managing information: evaluating and selecting citation management software, a look at EndNote, RefWorks, Mendeley and Zotero. IAMSLIC Conf Proc, 2010.
- Childress D. Citation tools in academic libraries: best practices for reference and instruction. Ref User Serv Q. 2011;51(2):143-152.
- Coar JT, Sewell JP. Zotero: harnessing the power of a personal bibliographic manager. Nurse Educ. 2010;35(5):205-7.
- Cohen D. Creating scholarly tools and resources for the digital ecosystem: building connections in the Zotero project. First Monday. 2008;13(8).
- Cronin B. Bibliometrics and beyond: some thoughts on web-based citation analysis. J Inform Sci. 2001;27(1):1–7.
- Duong K. Rolling out Zotero across campus as a part of a science librarian's outreach efforts. Sci Tech Libr. 2012;29(4):315.
- Fernandez P. Zotero: information management software 2.0. Library Hi Tech News. 2011;28(4):5-7.
- Gilmour R, Cobus-Kuo L. Reference management software: a comparative analysis of four products. Iss Sci Tech Librarianship. Summer 2011
- Harding K. Zotero. J Canadian Health Libraries Association. 2013;34(1):41-43.
- Hensley MK. Citation management software: features and futures. Ref User Serv Q. 2011;50(3):204-208.
- Kim T. Building student proficiency with scientific literature using the Zotero reference manager platform. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2011;39(6):412-5.
- Lucas DV. A product review of Zotero. Master's thesis, University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science; 2008.
- Mahajan AK, Hogarth DK. Taking control of your digital library: how modern citation managers do more than just referencing. Chest. 2013;144(6):1930-3.
- Murimboh JD, Hollingdale CR. Zotero: a reference manager for everyone. J Chem Ed. 2011;89(1):173-174.
- Puckett J. Zotero: a guide for librarians, researchers and educators. Association of College and Research Libraries: Chicago, IL, 2011.
- Steeleworthy M, Dewan PT. Web-based citation management systems: which one is best?. Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research. 2013;8(1).
- Trinoskey J, Brahmi FA, Gall C. Zotero: a product review. J Elec Res Med Libr. 2009;6(3):224-9.
- Vanhecke TE. Zotero. J Med Libr Assoc. 2008;96(3):275-276.
- Zhang Y. Comparison of select reference management tools. Med Ref Serv Q. 2012;31(1):45-60.