Zotero “Research, not re-search” is a

cloud-based storage solution for PDFs, images, web snapshots, and any other files attached to your Zotero personal and group libraries. Zotero File Storage allows you to access your Zotero-attached files from any computer with a web browser, and you can synchronize these files to any computer with Zotero installed. Zotero File Storage Services are provided by a third party, the Corporation for Digital Scholarship.

That makes it pretty much the same as Evernote and Diigo, except that Zotero seems to be more focussed to the scientific community . I mentioned the service briefly in an earlier post about Diigo, but recently Zotero announced their standalone desktop-version .

We’re delighted to announce Zotero Everywhere, a major new initiative generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Zotero Everywhere is aimed at dramatically increasing the accessibility of Zotero to the widest possible range of users today and in the future. Zotero Everywhere will have two main components: a standalone desktop version of Zotero with full integration into a variety of web browsers and a radically expanded application programming interface (API) to provide web and mobile access to Zotero libraries.

I did a short review of my Zotero account and I discovered that I don’t have any items in my library. That’s because I prefer Evernote and Diigo, which I both use extensively. Zotero has a rather expensive storage pricing system, build on what you actually keep in your library (which will inevitably sooner or later exceed the free account allowance of 100MB (instead of your free monthly upload of 40 MB free, no matter how much you store cumulatively as in Evernote’s system).
Zotero “Goodbye 3×5 cards, hello Zotero” aims to be your repository for documents and notes, with tagging and linking as key functionality. Just like Evernote and Diigo it is inspired by Vannevar Bush’s Memex, as proposed in an article in The Atlantic Monthly in 1945: “As We May Think“. A memex is

a device in which an individual compresses and stores all of their books, records, and communications which is then mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. A document can be given a simple numerical code that allows the user to access it after dialing the number combination. Documents are also able to be edited in real-time. This process makes annotation fast and simple. The memex is an enlarged intimate supplement to one’s memory.


2 thoughts on “Zotero

  1. This misunderstands what Zotero is.
    Yes, you can use it to store information. But centrally it’s a reference management system.
    Evernote will not download the full citation information for an article you download from google scholar, JSTOR, or the NY Times. And it will most certainly not allow you to turn it into a citation in various different citation styles.
    Nor will it allow you to collaborate with different users on a single word document etc. All of these things take up a large amount of the resources of Zotero developers and volunteers. They are vastly more complex than setting up a system that allows you to store and tag things online.

    Many non-academic users won’t need any of this. If you don’t need citation information ever, and if you’re never going to write a text with citations and a bibliography in it, there are very likely better choices for you out there than Zotero. But claiming that it’s essentially doing the same as Evernote or Diigo is quite misleading.

  2. If Diigo is your thing, more power to you, but I just wanted to pop in here and mention that Zotero really has the strongest support among the humanities. Scientists seem to be gravitating more towards Mendeley. There’s a good comparison chart at http://bit.ly/refman and here’s the link if you just want to give Mendeley a shot: http:/bit.ly/181tmi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s