Friday, May 15, 2009

Crowd (Re)sourcing

Zotero is a user-friendly, time-saving tool for "collecting, managing, and citing" your research. In the past, I used the University of Florida's subscription to RefWorks for research papers, but as I began to collect and organize resources for my dissertation, I wanted an open solution that better supported online research. I loved the idea that Zotero was created by actual researchers at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. I learned about Zotero from co-creator Dan Cohen and Mills Kelly through their Digital Campus Podcast. Now, with the release of Zotero 2.0, I can:
  • synchronize and back up my library with Zotero's servers and access my resources from any computer
  • share my research resources and notes with others
  • follow colleagues and fellow researchers and gain access to their work
  • create groups specific to research areas (e.g. Educational Technology)
  • export selected resources to a bibliography in the format of my choice in seconds (previously available)
In keeping with my philosophy of open access, especially with regard to research, I'm sharing my dissertation resources in two ways. You can view my personal Zotero Dissertation Research Library or, you can view, access, and add to the Zotero Educational Technology Group. Feel free to contribute, join, share your own resources, and/or take what you can use. You do not have to be using Zotero to view the resources. You will have to install Zotero to add or edit the group page. I have not been able to upload my citations into the group library due to a programming glitch that should be fixed in the next couple days, according to the Zotero Forums.

As you can see below, Zotero opens/closes in an adjustable window at the bottom of your browser. Here you have immediate access to your research resources including articles, notes, and website notations.
We all become quickly accustomed to the familiar, so Zotero may not be a good option for people who are well-entrenched in other citation tools. This just happened to be a good time for me to make a switch.

P.S. I've been experimenting with Evernote as a research tool for younger students. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated, especially if you have been using it with your students.

1 comment:

Mr. Gunn said...

Nice post, Wendy. I used Zotero for a while myself, but my library got too big to conveniently handle in-browser, so I switched to Mendeley. One cool thing it does that Zotero doesn't is index all the PDFs you've already downloaded.

If you try it and like it, you are welcome to add me as a contact.