October 12, 2006
By Elisabeth Grant
Citing your sources just got easier. Zotero, a new (and best of all, free) web research tool developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University promises to combine “the best parts of older reference manager software (like EndNote)… and the best parts of modern software such as del.icio.us or iTunes”. Zotero works on the web by recognizing and grabbing reference information when you’re viewing a book or article online on a research web site (check out the list of supported sites). It then organizes your sources in an iTunes-like library. Use it to save pdfs, files, images, links, and even entire web pages. Future features include the ability to share your library with other users, receive suggestions of relevant resources, and use the software on even more web sites.
The Zotero program does require the use of Firefox 2.0 as your browser (download it for free on the Mozilla website) and it acts as one of the many extensions available to Firefox users. While Zotero is already a powerful program, this is only the beta version, and the developers promise they’ll release updates this coming winter. But give it a try, and see if you agree that this is the “next-generation research tool.”