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Jul312011

Zotero

Zotero is a must have tool for any serious researcher / writer as not only is it extremely useful and easy to use but it is Open Source software and free. It easily handles the extraction of metadata automatically from a very wide range of sources:

Academic Reports - Online Library Databases, Google Scholar

Blogs - Blogger, Word Press

Books - Amazon, Google Books, Online Library Databases

Films - Amazon, IMDb

News Reports - LexisNexis, most major media outlets websites

and many more. For items not in any of the above places manual entries can also be created very easily. Zotero then enables the sorting of the metadata via tags, folder, shared folders and will also store actual PDF's, photos and video files (although the online sync limit is only 100Mb - so keep these on your desktop only). These sources can then be easily and quickly put into essays, reports and other documents as intext references or footnotes / endnotes in a wide range of styles - APA, Chicago, MLA etc. It also creates Bibliographies / Work Cited lists just as quickly and easily. Zotero works with MS Word, Open Office and Google Docs as long as you have Firefox installed or Firefox Portable. Except for Google Docs (obviously) it can even be used when offline. And the developers are currently working on a stand alone desktop version which will not rely on Firefox. See my Videos section for a video tutorial on some of the things Zotero can do. Also there is a wealth of tutorial documentation in many languages on the Zotero site's Support page. Check out Zotero and see what it can do to streamline your productive writing process.