Zotero is an online platform for collecting and managing citation information. It is both free and easy to use. Until recently there has been one catch – it only worked as a plugin for the Firefox browser. That has changed with the addition of a desktop client [Windows, Mac & Linux] and its associated Chrome and Safari extensions. You are still collecting and managing your citations in Zotero’s online platform, but they are synched with the desktop version for even easier management.
In this example, you see the desktop app displaying the Twitter item I just captured in my Safari browser by clicking the Zotero button. In addition to the captured information, I can add notes, tags [I love tags!] and connect it to other items in my library. If there are attached files within the site I’m capturing, I can often include that too.
Zotero has plugins for Microsoft Word and LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org making it easy to insert your collected citations into your writing projects. It is integrated with Google Docs (and Google Books/Google Scholar) to give these platforms bibliographic capability. Footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies are now a breeze to create.
If these features aren’t enough, Zotero also includes collaborative features. Research cousins or genealogical societies can create research groups within Zotero to share files, notes and bibliographic information. The discussion function makes it easy for the group to analyze their collected data. Groups can be large or small, public or private.
Every Zotero user has free access to all these features and 100MB of storage. Additional storage begins at $20/year for 1GB.
Watch the Quick Start Guide video to learn more about Zotero’s many features. (Note that the videos haven’t been updated to include the desktop app yet.) See if it doesn’t fit into your digital research toolbox.