Archive for January, 2007

State of the Community

On the eve of our RC1 release, we would like to take the opportunity to thank our user and developer community for its tremendous contribution to the Zotero project. Because so many different groups use and develop Zotero, it’s not always immediately apparent where or when the work is happening. Moreover, as an open project, there is no clear line separating developers from advocates. As a result, a great deal of Zotero thinking and developing often transpires away from at other institutions, in other blogs, and (increasingly frequently) in other languages. All of the following areas have benefited greatly from community participation, and we hope that many more Zotero users will consider joining these efforts or striking out in new directions. We are fortunate to have such a vibrant community of users, and we are optimistic that it will only grow as Zotero matures into a 1.0 release and beyond.

Z Forums
Since October the forums have received more than 1300 posts in 372 distinct threads requesting features, providing feedback, and identifying bugs. Although our core team actively participates in the forums, the forums are hardly a one-way street where users ask and the core team answers. Tremendous community involvement helps to resolve many support questions and other requests: two posters, noksagt and bdarcus, have already contributed more than 50 comments each.

Core Development and Utilities
Zotero’s ticketing system and development roadmap has been open since November to anyone with a registered account. As of this week, it now also offers anonymous browse access. Anyone interested in learning more about the development process or willing to tackle an outstanding ticket is strongly encouraged to join the effort.

Zotero’s open API encourages the creation of utilities layered on top of the core code. Currently there are several teams of developers working to integrate Zotero with popular social bookmarking sites like and reference management sites like Connotea. If you are interested in creating a new utility, please see the relevant documentation.

Site Translators
Since our first beta release last autumn, our user community has tested Zotero with hundreds of library sites and other online resources, and more than a hundred messages to have detailed the results of their efforts.

Zotero now includes dozens of new translators added with the help of our user community, with several entirely written by users like Robert Forkel and Syma. Earlier this month we released Scaffold, an IDE that encourages rapid translator testing and development, and we hope to see even more user-contributed translators soon.

International Support
Zotero currently includes 11 foreign locales, with another two already completed and in the pipeline for RC1 (Traditional Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese). All these locales are user-contributed through BabelZilla and more are already underway (Danish, Hebrew, Turkish). If you have any foreign language abilities, please contribute to the translation effort underway.

Advocates of Zotero have produced user guides in French, German, and Japanese. As we continue to add international locales, we hope to see more foreign-language documentation soon.

Blogs and Reviews
Zotero’s user base continues to grow rapidly, largely thanks to the efforts of our worldwide advocates. For example, the term “Zotero” now appears on more than half a million web pages, up from just 1 before the project went public last October. Thousands of bloggers have shared their Zotero experiences with their readers, and we are grateful for their outreach.

Making the Switch to Zotero

Many people coming to Zotero already have extensive collections stored in other reference management software. The following information describes how to make the move from EndNote to Zotero, but the same basic steps apply to many other reference management systems.

How to Import From EndNote
In EndNote, select “Output Styles” from the Edit menu. From the list of output styles select RefMan (RIS). (If you do not see RIS as an option, you’ll need to download the style from the EndNote site.) It could also be that the style is not enabled.  You may have to go open the Output Styles Manager from the Edit menu, enable RIS, then close the manager before it’s an option.) Once RefMan (RIS) is set as the format, select “Export” from the File menu. In the Export window that pops up, choose “Text Only”, select the RIS output style immediately below “Text Only” in the dialog, and hit “Save.” After exporting from EndNote, click on the gear icon () above the left column in your Zotero pane and select Import from the pull-down menu. In the filesystem window that pops up, locate the RIS file you exported from EndNote and select “Open.” Your references should be imported into Zotero.

If you have any issues related to importing and exporting references, try searching the forums. You may well find quick tips to help you solve your problem. If your search doesn’t turn up the answer you were looking for, post your question to the forums. This is the quickest way to get information from the Zotero team.

Feature Spotlight: Zotero Microsoft Word Integration Alpha

We would like to invite users to try the alpha release of Zotero MS Word integration. This preliminary release supports MLA and APA formats for in-text citations and bibliographies, as well as Chicago style for footnotes, in-text citations, and bibliographies. There are still kinks to be worked out, but we know how important this feature is to many of our users and wanted to let people start playing with it now.

The plugin has been tested with Word 2004 for Mac and Word 2002 (Office XP) and 2003 for Windows. Please see the documentation page for installation instructions and usage information.

Translator roundup

The Beta 3 release of Zotero includes many new or improved site translators for popular web-based scholarly resources, ranging from relatively small collections of individual journals, such as Nature, to large-scale database aggregators, such as Ovid. With the modified Aleph and Sirsi translators, Zotero should now be fully compatible with a host of additional university library OPACs (Online Public Access Catalogs). We’ve also updated our Ovid translator, giving users enhanced access to some of the most influential databases, full-text journals, and academic content in the sciences, arts, and humanities.

As part of our commitment to internationalization, Zotero users can now automatically capture metadata from Amazon sites around the world.

Other translator highlights:
ISI Web of Science: indexes thousands of scholarly journals in all areas of research, including the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

IEEE: indexes and in many cases provides full-text access to electrical engineering and computer science literature.

Factiva: indexes news- and business-related sources, including newspapers, newswires, magazines, and radio and television transcripts.

New translators in Beta 3:

Blackwell Synergy
IEEE Xplore translator
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts
Web of Science (but not Web of Knowledge CrossSearch)
HighWire (Oxford Journals, Science, etc.)
AMS MathSciNet
ACS Publications

Updated translators in Beta 3

Amazon (now supports international sites and retrieves data from Amazon’s API)
Google Scholar
Embedded RDF

Translators added via repository since Beta 2 Release 2

Translators updated via repository since Beta 2 Release 2

Google Books (site update)
NYTimes (TimesSelect content)
PubMed (page numbers now supported)
ABC-Clio Serials Web

You can find a list of other compatible databases, library catalogs, and online resources here. Please be aware, however, that this is an incomplete inventory. Because we are constantly adding and refining translators, we encourage users to test sites for compliance rather than relying exclusively on our documentation. If there are additional site translators you would like to see, let us know on the Zotero forums.

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