November 24, 2007

Zotero - love at first byte

This tells you something about my semester: it's taken until this weekend for me to try out Zotero, essentially an open-source citation database system. (I do wait until others on the bleeding edge show a new tool is useful, but I try to be in the second wave of adopters of useful tools.) It's free, thanks to the Center for History and New Media, and while I have been frustrated with the expensive software that my university purchased a site license to some years ago, at first blush Zotero is elegant and workable, including things such as snagging citations from Worldcat and JSTOR and my own university's library catalog.

But it took me about 5 minutes to set up, 5 minutes to play with it, and four minutes to use it to send a citation to students this afternoon. There is nothing in Zotero that you couldn't do manually with about 10 times the effort. But in the same way that learning a word processor's style system eventually pays off in hours, days, and weeks of time saved, so will Zotero. Goodbye, EndNote and ProCite. I have forsaken you for Zotero.

(Extra credit: how many pop-culture references exist for that phrase in the title, love at first byte?)

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Posted in History on November 24, 2007 5:29 PM |