Zotero is a standout member of the family of reference manager systems – it’s user-friendly, flexible and intuitive, with a lot of features that make it easy to love. It’s a free, open-source research tool that helps you easily collect and organize references, cite them in documents or in standalone bibliographies, and share them in a variety of ways.
There are several different ways to install and use Zotero – the most seamless is the Zotero browser extension for Firefox, which integrates with amazing ease into your research workflow – you can capture single or multiple references with one or two clicks. A Zotero ‘Standalone’ option is available if you prefer to use Chrome or Safari.
Some of Zotero’s user-friendly features include the ability to drag and drop citations from your Zotero library onto documents or emails, where they appear automatically formatted; a feature that allows you to drop pdfs into the Zotero pane to add them to your library (and Zotero can then, in many cases, retrieve the metadata for that unrecognizable pdf, rename it something like Anderson.JACS.2007.pdf, and create a parent record for the reference). Zotero can be set to save pdfs, when available, along with the citation, and will save and attach snapshots of web pages and other web documents. You can customize Zotero with your institution’s article link resolver, so when you’re returning to an article, Zotero will take you through your institution’s licensed pathway.
Finally, one particularly nice aspect of Zotero is its community of users; Zotero has its roots in the open source culture, and much support can be found in its active and devoted user forum. Zotero documentation, also, is well organized and user-friendly.
Tomorrow, we’ll wrap of the week’s focus on writing with a look at WebCite.