Jason Puckett With great power comes great bibliography.


Zotero Trainers Workshop at GSU Library in Atlanta

I'm pleased to announce that my library will be hosting one of the official Zotero Trainer Workshops taught by Zotero developer Sebastian Karcher:

During these intensive (and fun!) two day events, participants acquire an in-depth understanding of Zotero’s capabilities, how to extend those capabilities, and how Zotero can best meet their users’ needs. Participants also learn and share best-practices for teaching and supporting Zotero at their institution and approaches for developing institution-specific documentation.

The workshops are targeted at librarians and anyone else who supports or wants to support Zotero at their institution or department. While basic familiarity with Zotero is recommended, there are no technical prerequisites for participating.

The Atlanta workshop will be at GSU Library October 11-12. I'm looking forward to learning some new techniques myself.

More information at the Zotero blog.

Registration is open.


Online Zotero workshop July

This July I'm teaching  my online Zotero continuing education class for Simmons College School of LIS. It's a four-week class that requires no previous experience. We cover not just the how-to stuff, but best practices for teaching and supporting Zotero in libraries. And you get a free ebook copy of my Zotero guide as the textbook!

It's been a fun and interesting class on previous go-rounds. I'm pretty sure this is the only time this year I'll be teaching this particular class, so if you're interested please check it out.


Zotero workshop video

When I teach Zotero workshops, I'm often asked by people who can't attend whether the session will be archived in some way to watch later. The answer is now yes -- we recorded my last workshop and posted it on Youtube.

After seeing the initial video, I identified several places where it wasn't clear what I was doing on the screen. I recorded some very short (ten or fifteen second) screencasts to drop in, and our instructional designer edited them into a finished product.

I'd like to thank our library's instructional designer Cynthia Kennedy, who did all the editing and production work, and Mat Munson at GSU's Multimedia Communication Services department who filmed the session.



ZotPad screenshotHow did I miss this? There's now a third-party iPad app for Zotero called ZotPad. I've only had it for a couple of hours, but here are my initial impressions.

For six dollars, you get an app that allows you to connect to your Zotero account, browse your personal and group libraries, view (but not edit) item details, and view or save attachments. Extremely handy! Frankly, I think it's worth the price just to have access to all my PDF attachments.

It doesn't allow you to write to your libraries in any way, so no creating collections or items, adding notes, or joining groups. It also doesn't have a way to create citations or bibliographies if you're writing on your iPad -- it's strictly a viewer. The developer is looking into adding improved search, support for viewing notes, and editing library items.

ZotPad requires iOS 5. I had to update my iPad in order to install it, which I'd been putting off for a while. I think it was worth the hassle.

ZotPad (iTunes app store)

ZotPad (developer's website)


Continuing ed classes: Zotero and Instruction Boot Camp

I'm teaching two classes for Simmons College's Continuing Education program in the next few months.

February 2012: Zotero: Using and Supporting the Research Power Tool: This is my four-week class on Zotero. We'll cover the basics of installing and using Zotero, all the way up through best practices for supporting and teaching Zotero in your library. (And you get the e-edition of my book along with the course.)

May 1-June 11 2012: Instruction Librarian Boot Camp: We just expanded this course to six weeks based on students' requests to make it longer! This is a great class for new LIS grads looking for your first instruction librarian jobs, or seasoned instructors looking to improve your skills. We cover learning outcomes, technology tools, active learning, and assessment. I'm co-teaching this class with my GSU colleague Sarah Steiner.


Zotero apps for Android

I'm slowing down from fall semester madness just long enough to mention that there are now not one, but two Zotero-related apps available for sale in the Android store:

Zandy, a client allowing library access/viewing/editing from your mobile device, and

Scanner for Zotero, an app that replicates some of the Zotero "magic wand" function by allowing you to scan ISBN barcodes to add items to your Zotero library.

I've tried Zandy just a bit and it seems to work fine for what I've done with it so far -- I haven't yet tried out Scanner, but both apps look promising and interesting. (Obviously, I'm not affiliated with either project.)

Edited to add: iPhone/Zotero users should take a look at BibUp, a project of the University of Fribourg.


Zotero book now available

I'm pleased and proud to announce that my book is now officially available from ACRL Publications! You can buy it on Amazon or from the ALA Store, in print or ebook editions. It will be available at the bookstore at ALA Annual in New Orleans this week.

If you're considering an ebook edition, I recommend buying it from the ALA Store: you'll get DRM-free PDF, ePub, and Kindle/Mobipocket files that will work on just about any device out there. ALA also sells a print/ebook bundle. (As is unfortunately always the case, the Kindle edition sold by Amazon is encumbered with Amazon's DRM.)

Here's the ACRL press release:

ACRL announces the publication of  Zotero: A Guide for Librarians, Researchers and Educators. Authored by Jason Puckett of Georgia State University. Zotero: A Guide for Librarians, Researchers and Educators is the first book-length treatment of this powerful research tool developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Written for end users, librarians and teachers, the book introduces Zotero and presents it in the context of bibliography managers and open source software. Puckett then provides detailed instructions on using the software in research and writing, along with a wealth of useful information including instructional best practices, examples, support tips and advanced techniques for those who teach and support Zotero.

"Puckett draws on his deep understanding of Zotero's technology to provide clear, concise
guidelines and tips for beginners and experts alike," says Sean Takats, co-director of Zotero, assistant professor of History at George Mason University and director of research projects at the Center for History and New Media. "As a bonus, he convincingly argues why you -- yes, you -- need to be using research software and why Zotero is the best choice."

A perfect guidebook to a robust open access research tool that allows the user to manage all aspects of bibliographic data, Zotero: A Guide for Librarians, Researchers and Educators is essential for librarians, classroom faculty and students alike.

Zotero: A Guide for Librarians, Researchers and Educators will be available at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans and is available for purchase in print and as an ePub, Kindle or PDF e-book through the ALA Online Store; in print and for Kindle through Amazon.com; and by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the U.S. or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.


ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-8589-2
Price: $36
E-Book Price: $12


Readability and Zotero

Zotero users are probably aware that it doesn't automatically include citation info like dates and author names when saving a citation to a website.

Yesterday, Amy Cavender posted an article to Profhacker explaining how to use the Readability plugin to improve Zotero's ability to save website citations. In a nutshell, clicking the Readability button generates enough metadata for Zotero to pick up the author name (although not perfectly in my screenshot example) and website title, and sometimes date of publication depending on the site -- and it also cleans up the Zotero snapshot, eliminating extraneous ads and graphics.

For more details, read the post:

Use Readability to Make Sites Zotero-Friendly (Profhacker)


Bibliography of Zotero book

I've posted the bibliography and chapter titles of my upcoming book on my Zotero page. (Edited to add: Also available in a shared Zotero library.)

No firm release date yet, but we're still expecting it to be available by ALA Annual.


Zotero book updates

Look at all this stuff I wrote!I talked to my editor Kathryn Deiss at ACRL yesterday, and I can say the following things about my upcoming Zotero book with a reasonable amount of confidence:

I'll be rewriting and editing through the end of March and maybe a bit into April.

The book will probably be available for purchase in May or June. We expect it to be on the shelves of the bookstore at ALA Annual.

The cover will be designed by Christian Steinmetz, our library's Creative Manager and (in his spare time) comics creator extraordinaire.

There will be e-book editions available from Amazon (with the usual non-optional Kindle DRM) and directly from ACRL (without DRM), hopefully simultaneous with the print release.

The table of contents consists of:

  • Introduction (how I became so invested in using Zotero)
  • 1. About Zotero (what it is, a bit about open source software, why I think Zotero rocks)
  • 2. Setting up (installing the Firefox and Standalone versions)
  • 3. Creating your library (putting stuff into Zotero, organizing and so on)
  • 4. Creating bibliographies and writing with Zotero (using Zotero with Word and other word processors, citing and writing and related topics)
  • 5. Zotero online (syncing, using group libraries, and using Zotero for collaborative work)
  • 6. Teaching Zotero (using Zotero with classes, teaching workshops in person and online, lots of real-world examples)
  • 7. Supporting Zotero (Zotero "champions," Zotero outreach on your campus, providing staff training, what your IT staff might need to know)

I'm using the rough draft as a text for my Zotero class for Simmons SLIS this month.

Thanks to everyone who's provided input and suggestions so far. I'll be really excited to see this thing go out into the world this summer.