Archive for March, 2007

Ten New Zotero Screencasts

In conjunction with the release of Zotero 1.0 Beta 4, we have launched a new series of screencasts. Along with our textual documentation, these short screencasts offer a quick way for you to see how Zotero can streamline your research process. Take a few moments to check them out, and learn a bit more about how Zotero can work for you.

Major Zotero Update Now Available

We’re pleased to announce that a new release of Zotero, 1.0 Beta 4, is now available. Existing users who downloaded from zotero.org can update manually via Tools->Add-ons from within Firefox. We recommend that all others, including new users as well as those who originally downloaded the extension from the Mozilla website, use the Download button on our home page or to the right of this blog post. It is highly recommended that you back up your Zotero data directory before upgrading to the latest version.

Beta 4 includes many new or improved site translators, in-page annotation and highlighting features, five additional language localizations, and many bug fixes. We are also excited to announce a new alpha version of our Microsoft Word plug-in. If you have Alpha 1 you will need to download and install the new version (Mac, Windows). See the documentation for installation instructions.

We have also added a better method for taking snapshots of web pages, which on some platforms has a conflict with the Flash plugin. To avoid problems, please adjust your Flash Security Settings.

For a comprehensive overview of changes in this release, see the changelog. Over the next week we will highlight many of the new features in this blog.

The British (and Irish) Are Coming

Thanks to the efforts of the University of Manchester Computing department, the new XML trial version of the online public access catalog Copac is now Zotero-compatible. Containing over 30 million records, this tremendous resource provides free access to the merged online catalogs of major UK and Irish university research libraries, plus the British Library and the National Library of Scotland.

Copac offers an excellent model for other data providers, self-publishers, and bloggers who wish to make their content available to Zotero. By embedding COinS tags in their library records, the Copac developers have made it possible for Zotero to automatically capture the bibliographic information contained in them. The Copac XML database can be accessed via the Copac v3 experimental interface, which is scheduled to go live on March 28.

What Other Citation Formats Would You Like Zotero to Generate

We would like to know what citation and bibliography styles people in the Zotero community are yearning for. Currently Zotero generates bibliographies in MLA, APA, and three varieties of Chicago styles (and an ASA format is under development).

Ultimately we intend to offer a utility which makes the process of developing new styles much more user friendly, but for the time being it is a bit more technical than our average user can muster. We are looking to put together more citation and bibliography styles that appeal to a broad audience. Post your requests for new formats in this thread. One of our programmers is going to be hammering out a handful of these styles and now is your chance to have your voice heard.

Dan Cohen to present “Zotero and the Promise of Social Computing in Academia”

CHNM’s Dan Cohen will present on Zotero at the University of Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities on Tuesday, March 13 from 12:30-1:45 pm. The talk will be held in the MITH Conference Room in McKeldin Library, room B0135. For directions and other contact information, please visit the MITH homepage.

“Zotero and the Promise of Social Computing in Academia”
by DAN COHEN (Center for History and New Media, George Mason)

The Library of Congress contains over a million dissertations. Each of
these works represents an average of four years of work by a
specialist who has diligently and intelligently scanned, sorted, read,
categorized, assessed, and annotated hundreds or thousands of primary
and secondary sources. The staggering scale of this work–literally
billions of person-hours in dissertation work alone, not to mention
the research that went into the millions of other books those
dissertations share shelf space with–should be matched by the regret
academia should feel since almost all of this research is buried in
filing cabinets or boxes or worse: soon-to-be obsolete digital media
such as a floppy disk or the tacit knowledge of a researcher’s mind.
Often the most we can expect to see from all of this work, aside from
the book or article it informed, is the bibliography that is buried at
the end of the printed text.

But what if we could use digital methods to recapture that enormous
amount of scholarly work, the 90% of research that, like an iceberg,
is hidden beneath the 10% of the final product? The Zotero project
(which I co-direct) has released software that allows users to build,
tag, and annotate their own research collections, with a high level of
integration with online texts and databases; the next phase of the
project will add a server through which users and groups can exchange,
aggregate, and recommend digital texts and resources. If humanities
researchers–professors, students, and others–widely adopted such
digital tools, many parts of the scholarly process could be
recaptured, and, more important, networked together. See
www.zotero.org for more downloads and more information.