Are you working on a research project? Do you use the internet to find sources for your papers? Having trouble keeping track of webpages, notes, and citations?
Sometimes using the Internet to do research seems like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have so much information available to you through library databases, publications from the government and professional organizations, and through search engines like GoogleScholar. But how do you keep track of this information once you’ve found it and ensure that you can find it again?
If you use the Firefox browser, there is a program called Zotero that can help you gather and organize resources online while using Firefox browser. (Sorry, Internet Explorer users!) Zotero is an incredibly powerful tool that you can download for free. Once it’s installed you can access it from the bottom of the browser’s window:
By clicking on “Zotero,” the program opens, revealing its many features:
In the left pane, you can organize your research by topic into folders. The middle pane shows you a list of documents in a given folder. In the right pane, you can collect citation data, create virtual note cards to save any important comments, and create links between a given document and ones that may be similar to it. For example, you could link all the articles you find by the same author. Furthermore, you can write your own tags for the item, and store files for later use. When you’re done with your paper, you can export your citations and automatically create a bibliography. Whoa. That’s a lot!
Zotero has many powerful features, but may work best for someone who does most of their research on one computer. As of November 2007, you cannot access your Zotero files over the web (that’s something they are working on, though). Until then, all your information is stored on your desktop.
If you have any questions about Zotero, please feel free to contact the Library Reference Desk. Also, check out these links for more information about Zotero, Firefox, and open source software:
http://www.zotero.org — includes a full description of Zotero and tutorials.
http://www.mozilla.org — download Firefox and learn more about the Mozilla Foundation.
http://www.answers.com/open+source+software?cat=technology&gwp=13 — definition of Open Source Software and lots of links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_software — comprehensive Wikipedia article on the Open Source Software movement.