I once had a Hebrew professor who insisted that computers make you stupid. They do all the work for you, and are therefore superannuating (superannuate: the OED word-of-the-day, 04 Oct 2006) the art of research. Part of me sympathizes with this. But the larger part of me finds tools like Zotero to be the epitome of cool.

Zotero is a new tool for online research that aids in citation management from within the Firefox browser. It is currently in private beta (which means it is not yet available) but a public test version should be available this Fall. It looks incredible. In addition to the following information from their website, it appears that Zotero will even be able to grabe LC Subject Heading information as well. From the Zotero website:

A major feature of Zotero is its ability to sense when you are looking at an item (or items) on a web page. For instance, if you are looking at the record for a book on an online library catalog, Zotero’s book icon will appear in Firefox’s location bar (at the top of the browser window, where the current web address, or URL, appears), like so:

[image removed — it reaked havoc on my display]

Simply click on the book icon and Zotero will save all of the citation information about that book into your library. (The Zotero window does not have to be open for this to work.) If you are looking at a group of items (e.g., a list of search results from Google Scholar or LexisNexis), a folder will appear. Clicking on the folder will produce a list of items with check boxes next to them; choose the ones you want to save and Zotero will do the rest. If you are currently working in a specific collection (that is, a collection is highlighted in the left column rather than “My Library”), the references will be copied to that location as well as your overall library.

The Zotero sensors should work with most library catalogs, some popular dot-coms such as Amazon, and many gated databases. Just look for icons in the location bar.

Eagerly awaiting the public beta…

By the way, a briefly annotated list of similarly helpful tools can be found here.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. atom probe says:

    The public beta is out. Works quite well. I’ve been using it with refbase.

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks. I will test it out today.

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