Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zotero keeps track of your research

When I was in grad school, I wrote my first paper using handwritten notecards. It had been ten years since I was in school. I thought someone must have created an electronic research tool. I downloaded a few trials from downloads.com, however I did not find a system that allowed me to keep my citation information linked to my notes, something that would allow me to search my own notes, capture screen shots that would link to citation information, or let me drop that citation information into my research paper with a simple mouse click. Zotero, created at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, claims to do all of these things. (Of course...now that I have graduated).

Zotero is a Firefox plug-in that works with your browser window. Free to users, it downloads in a matter of minutes. This morning I downloaded the plug-in and began using it for some research on chronic daily headache.

Click the screen shot above to see the full screen with Zotero in use. Notice the notes attached to the article Managing the "difficult" headache patient. I have experimented for a short time this morning, but initially I feel that the potential for this tool is great. However, I have not used it enough yet to see how well it lives up to its potential. I will continue to use it in my daily work and post an update in a month or so.

For those interested, there is a video tour on the zotero site: http://www.zotero.org

If you do test it out, let me know what you think of it.

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