Organizing your internet favorites and citations

By oish330oish330 (1257725293|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

We have all had to deal with citations throughout our college and professional careers, so we know how time consuming and annoying they can be. The most problematic of all citations are web-based resources; you have to manage all the sites used, hold on to the pertinent information to complete your work, and then figure out how to cite each page. Some people use tools like RefWorks and EndNote to help manage citations and create bibliographies while others use Evernote to capture pages, images, links, etc… that they like online. Zotero is a Mozilla Firefox extension that provides both the functions of tools like EndNote and Evernote. In other words, it helps you collect, manage, and cite your research sources all in one place.

How is this relevant to search?

With all the information available on the internet these days one of the major challenges is organizing what you find online. For those of us that are visual people, a tool like Zotero that can save snapshots of images or pages is far superior to a bookmarking tool or even a site like del.icio.us. Of course, this is just my opinion…

How does it work?

Zotero sits in the bottom right corner of your Mozilla page and pops up when from the bottom of the screen, then you can manage all your information and collapse Zotero when you're finished

zotero2-1.jpg

You can even see some of the things I've saved on Zotero. There is a mix of JSTOR findings from some old research paper, a bunch of links about deodorants from my summer internship, and some folders about DJ stuff that I just wanted to save (like a specific page from the Technics website that I did not want to lose in the jumble of their website).

Zotero's notable features:

  • Automatically capture citations - the autofind feature is one of the best things about Zotero. It will automatically realize when you are looking at a summary, abstract, or article and show an icon next to the url. If you click this icon, Zotero will automatically store the citation info in to a database that you can later export in a number of formats.
  • Smooth FireFox integration - the ease of use for Zotero is fantastic with FireFox. It fits in cleanly and is not a distraction. Personally, anything that clutters up my browser workspace, no matter how useful, just won't last.
  • Store PDFs, images, and web pages - I love this feature as it extends beyond the realm of boring bibliographies and can be used in other ways. Zotero will capture pictures of most things out there on the web.
  • Organize with collections and tags - the social media twist to a lot of tools we see on the web these days, it is nice to be able to tag by project, topic, etc… and be able to pull up all your saved links easily.
  • Take rich-text notes in any language - you probably will never use this feature, but it's there.
  • Wide variety of import/export options - a must-have for any citation tool.
  • Use thousands of bibliographic styles
  • Interface available in over 30 languages - se habla espaƱol?
  • Cite from within Word and OpenOffice
  • Instantly search your PDFs and notes - the search feature is very useful
  • FREE! A college student's best friend.

Check out the instructional video:

Zotero is more than just a citation resource

Don't think of Zotero as a tool that ONLY helps you to create your bibliographies for that boring Strategy paper due tomorrow. I have found many other creative uses for this tool. For example, holding on to some of my favorite web sites and images, and to save news headlines that change all the time (kind of like saving a newspaper clipping in the old days).

Reviews

Take a look at these reviews for some more information:

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