Sunday, May 30, 2010

research made simple with zotero

If you are into study/research of any kind (academic/non-academic) which involves reading up things and keeping track of them then you are in for a great productivity boost.  This will help if you are reading books/news/articles/wikipedia/journals or any such sort of thing. The too I'm talking about is zotero
With zotero you can save proper bibliographic references of lots of material you see on the internet and manage/search/cite them in various forms. Its really difficult to describe all the wonderful things zotero can do for your research, so it'll be really good for you if you watch the screencast http://www.zotero.org/support/screencast_tutorials/zotero_tour

Some features you'll find helpful:
Collect:

  • Single click saving of references. For example single click on any sciencedirect article, if you have subscribed (as in my college), a single click will save all information about the article, including the pdf (with well thought name instead of fulltext.pdf) if its available.
  • To enable saving pdf select in Zotero Preferences->General tab -> automatically attach associated pdfs and other files when saving.
  • In search tab in preferences, you may also want to enable indexing of pdfs if you need.
  • Clicking on sites with references to lots of articles (wikipedia references, cited by in Scopus etc), you can easily select all the references you need to save
Manage:
  • You can search all your saved articles, add notes, tags etc
  • You can group all articles in collections based on topic
  • You can create saved searches based on various criteria
Cite:
  • To cite an article(s) simply select them and right click to 'create bibliography from selectd articles' and choose a format style from the many available (including all popular journals) and you are done
  • If you are using bibtex to manage bibliographies for your article then select the articles and right click to do 'export selected items' and select bibtex format
  • Zotero plugins are available for Openoffice and MS Office too, so you can easily insert the references in your articles, without the pain of collecting anf formatting
Share:
  • If you work in team then this is a really wonderful feature. Create a simple login on the zotero server (you can also use openid)
  • In zotero preferences->sync tab enter your zotero login details and enable sync my library and group library.
  • All synced items (including attached pdfs) are available on the internet anywhere without even installing zotero addon. You just need to login to zotero and see your collection. This is very useful if your college has access to some journals but when you are somewhere else in a conference and you need to check and article. 100 MB space is freely available and you can buy even more.
  • 'My library' is your personal collection. Group libraries are shared collections, which can be shared with other people you are working with.
So what are you waiting for, install it now. If you did not install it yet, then you need to watch the screencast http://www.zotero.org/support/screencast_tutorials/zotero_tour now

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