A Citation Dream Tool

How many times have you found yourself burrowing into research files, desperate for a vital clipping or article, only to discover to your horror that you failed to write down the full citation required to retrieve it?

Zotero feels your pain.

This nifty little add-on tool for the Mozilla Firefox web browser is a writer’s godsend. The program, easily accessed on Firefox with a single click of the mouse, helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources–citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects–and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. The extension includes the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references. Writers also have the option to interact, tag, and search in advanced ways. Zotero uses mysterious algorithmic magic to sense when the computer user is viewing a book, article, or other object on the web. On many major research and library sites, the program finds and automatically saves the full reference information for the item in the correct fields. Because it lives within the web browser, it can effortlessly transmit information to, and receive information from, other web services and applications. Moreover, because it resides on your hard drive, it can communicate with software running in tandem (such as Microsoft Word). The program can also be used off-line (e.g., on a plane or in an archive without WiFi).

Zotero is produced by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and was funded by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Best of all—it’s free. You can download it at www.zotero.org

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