Jason Puckett With great power comes great bibliography.


I’m writing a Zotero book

"1947 Continental" by Olivander

I'm really pleased and excited to announce that I'm writing a book about Zotero for ACRL Publications. (This is one reason I've been all "Zotero Zotero Zotero" on the blog lately. ...More than usual, I mean.)

The working title is Zotero: A guide for librarians, teachers and researchers. It will be part how-to guide for Zotero users and partly about supporting, promoting and teaching Zotero.

For my research, I'm really interested in hearing from:

  • librarians and educators who are incorporating Zotero into teaching, from high school through grad classes
  • campus Zotero advocates who are engaging in interesting promotional and outreach activities
  • Zotero users who are using it in interesting or unusual ways

If you're doing any of those things please email me or leave a comment! I'm writing through the beginning of 2011 and I'm expecting it to go to print in the spring. I'm sure I'll be posting about it here as it progresses.

A big thank you to Kathryn Deiss at ACRL Publications for working with me on this!

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  1. Last year I had grad students use Zotero in my class. We didn’t do anything that exciting with it; I just wanted to make sure they knew about it. Many of them loved it instantly, as did the research assistant I taught to use it. She couldn’t believe she had never known about it.

    One thing I do think you should address which doesn’t fall under the head of Zotero boosting — fact is, when not doing research, I’ve switched to the Chrome browser, which I love. Zotero does say they’re working on a stand-alone version, but I imagine that’ll take quite awhile to come to fruition. It’s worth addressing at some point, the fact that so far Zotero is dependent on Firefox.

    Disclosure: I’m currently working for the Center for History and New Media, which makes Zotero. But I work on a different project altogether and used Zotero long before I started there.

  2. I’m really interested in exploring the possible uses of Zotero in cultural collections (archives, museums and galleries). I’ve written a translator for the National Archives of Australia collection database and as I keep saying to whoever will listen, Zotero with public groups allows for the development of alternative, user-generated finding aids. And then there’s the possibilities for institutions to harvest user notes and tags back into their own databases.

    But I think there’s room for improvement. I’ve just updated my NAA translator and added machine tags as a hack to try and express some of the semantic relationships that are important to capturing archival context. Zotero still seems to be a little too closely bound to its origins as a citation manager – to me it’s really a research platform, an open source, cross-disciplinary VRE.

  3. Thanks for the shout out, Jason. ACRL is excited about this project!
    Wragge, what interesting uses you suggest!

  4. I’ve used zotero in graduate courses to publish group bibliographies produced (and hopefully annotated) by the students. Each week two members of the seminar have to lead discussion and develop an extended bibliography to complement the works we read together. I then have them sync that bibliography with zotero group. Here’s the one we produced last Spring.

  5. amazing!
    not only does it make total sense that it is you writing this book (well done ACRL!) but it’s desperately needed by oh-so-many librarians and profs.
    i can’t wait!

  6. Thank you all for the comments, truly — everyone who posted in this thread should probably expect to get an email from me when I’m a bit further along. I’m working on the how-to chapters first so that I can let the more thoughtful chapters on teaching and applications percolate a bit.

  7. I’ve used Zotero with my undergraduates. I usually just introduce them to it as a citation manager, and explain how it can simplify life for them and help them with good information management.

    This semester, though, I’m seriously thinking of requiring its use, and requiring students to work on group bibliographies as well as using it as a citation manager.

  8. I’m excited to see someone doing this. I’ve seen a lot of grad student colleagues say that they have difficulty “getting” Zotero, but then they see how I use it and they like it. They don’t always opt to use it, but I think a book would be really useful.

    For my own part, I’ve used Zotero to catalog all of my primary sources for my dissertation (history field). I photographed and PDFd all my files from the archives (several thousand in all) and used Zotero to enter the sources manually, take notes, and tag everything. This has made writing my dissertation really much smoother, as I simply select the appropriate tags I need in any given chapter to find the sources I want.

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