Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Mark of Zotero

I'm getting seriously into organizing my Berkeley paper at this point, and thus am back to using Zotero, the reference management tool upon which I settled, again. Some comments:

Good points: It's free. It integrates into Word and Firefox, both of which I was already using. It syncs your references across machines for you. It makes it pretty easy to grab citations from off of the Web. Getting them into Word is not too bad, but...

Bad points: The user interface is a little mysterious: Things aren't always where you expect them to be. It forces you to use Firefox. But the worst is that it fights with you over formats. I had my bibliographical entries in a format I like and generally use. When I imported several entries today, they came in slightly differently. "No problem," I thought, "I'll just tweak them to my style." But the next import not only came in Zotero's way (as I expected), it also put all of the entries I had just tweaked back in Zotero's format! Aargh.

I finally just gave up, and adopted Zotero's format. (Of course, they have a number of options for bibliographical entries, but I have no idea if any of them are exactly the format I wanted, and I didn't desire to go through everyone of them to find out.)

In any case, I am in general pleased with it, and will keep using it. I expect the more I do so, the higher will be the pleasure / pain ratio the product delivers.

UPDATE: Another problem: I haven't figured out how to get Zotero to import JStor references properly. Daniel Silva, anything on this? Anyone else?


  1. With Zotero Everywhere you no longer need to use Firefox. I am using it with the standalone app and with Google Chrome.

  2. It might make sense for me to get something like this. As it is I have a few folders with so many resources that it is a daunting task to find a source for something today that I may have saved a year ago. I have a bad habit of saving material in the hopes that I'll better organize it later, but then I get to saving even more content that I never get the chance to organize the original stuff.

    Aside from your current criticisms, I imagine that this program would help to alleviate some of these problems... Yes?

    It's a good thing that I am not an academic, huh?

  3. It's chiefly a reference organizer. Is that what you need, Joseph?

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  5. "Another problem: I haven't figured out how to get Zotero to import JStor references properly."

    Zotero should work flawlessly with JSTOR, just by using the button in the URL bar. If it doesn't, see here: http://www.zotero.org/support/troubleshooting_translator_issues and the post to the Zotero support forum.

  6. Latinamericanist, interestingly, I don't get that button in the URL bar!

    But there is an entirely different way to import JStor results: when I do a search, I just check the ones I like, and then click "Add citation," and they are all sucked into JStor.


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