Jason Puckett With great power comes great bibliography.


Do you teach Zotero?

I'm closing in on the second half of my Zotero book, getting out of the how-to chapters and into the (more interesting, I think) best practices stuff.

If you teach Zotero, either as a one-off workshop or a credit course, I'd really like to hear from you as I prepare to write the chapters on teaching and support. Please post here or email me (jason at librarianX dot net).

These are the standard questions I've been asking teachers. They're meant to elicit as much or as little commentary as you care to contribute. If I use anything you send me, of course I'll mention your name with gratitude in the acknowledgments!

  • How do you use Zotero in your classes?
  • Why did you choose to incorporate Zotero into your classwork?
  • How have your students taken to it? Any problems? Any notable student feedback?
  • What do you think your students have gotten out of using it?
  • I’d like to show some real-world examples of class assignments or teaching activities that incorporate Zotero. Do you have any you could share, and may I quote from your assignment in my book?
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Presentation at COMO Athens GA next week

Just a quick note to say I'll be presenting a session called "Zotero: Using, Teaching and Supporting The Open-Source Citation Tool" at the Georgia COMO conference in Athens next week. (This is indeed my Year To Talk About Zotero a Lot.) It'll be a little bit of how-to, but mostly about why open source is good, why Zotero is my reference manager of choice, and its potential for researchers, librarians and teachers. It's Thursday October 14, 4:30pm in Athena Ballroom J. Say hi if you can make it.


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!


Archived Zotero presentation

I gave an online Zotero talk for GALILEO last week. Here's the audio and video archive. It's part software how-to and partly a discussion of how I teach and support Zotero in our library. EDIT: No password needed -- just leave it blank and click Enter.

I'm doing another one for them in November (and one on Libguides in early August), and I hope to be a little less awkward with the Wimba presentation software at that point!


Zotero in less than two minutes

Since I'm seemingly on a roll with the Youtube posts, let me share this great quick-and-awesome Zotero demo from Eric Sizemore:

This is more or less how I start my Zotero workshops -- I've found that it pays to show the finished product at the beginning to get their attention -- but I think Eric does a better job than I do!

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I’m Lost in the Stacks

Today (Friday May 28) at noon Eastern time, I'll be on the Georgia Tech library radio show "Lost in the Stacks." Host Charlie Bennett interviewed me about -- you guessed it -- Adventures in Library Instruction and Zotero!

My friends and GSU Library colleagues Sarah Steiner and Christian Sager will be appearing on the show live -- my segment had to be taped since I have a conflict during the broadcast time.

You can listen to the live stream at WREK.org, or on 91.1FM if you're in Atlanta and still own a radio. It'll be archived temporarily at WREK's Friday Shows page under "Lost in the Stacks."


Zotero for organizing audio collections

Maybe this is obvious to everyone else who uses Zotero regularly, but I had sort of an a-ha moment yesterday afternoon with a student and I wanted to share the idea.

I was doing a Zotero consultation with a grad student in our school of social work, and in the course of conversation it came up that she's using a lot of personal interviews in her research. "Oh," I said, "I think there's an Interview reference type in Zotero if you need to cite them." It turns out that there is indeed.

So then I was showing her how to attach PDFs to article citations. "You know," I said, "you can attach other kinds of files too, like Word documents, or ... or MP3s. Hey! You could attach interview recordings, and then tag them with the interview subject's name and make them searchable." We got very excited at this point and I'm a little embarrassed at how geeky the whole thing was.

But I can think of several use cases for this. Obviously if you're in a discipline like social work, Zotero would give you an easy way to organize interviews. The Zotero metadata is probably friendlier to search than the native MP3/ID3 tags, and of course it can generate citations in ways that ID3 data can't do.

This would also be great for historians and digital archivists (like my wife) working with oral history material, especially with the forthcoming API that will publish from Zotero to the web via Omeka. EDIT: Combining it with Zotero Maps or the Timeline feature could be useful and/or cool.

The only drawback I can see is that a collection of MP3s would likely eat through the free 100 megs of storage space on the sync server very quickly, but storage is cheap.


Upcoming ACRL webcast on open source research tools

I'm giving an online presentation for ACRL next week:

Superpower your Browser: Open Source Research Tools

Libraries are harnessing the power of digital resources, moving tools and resources not only onto the Web but into the browser software itself. Open source browser plug-ins such as LibX and Zotero can help researchers at every stage of the research cycle, from search and discovery to writing and citation.

The LibX search toolbar can be customized to search your library's catalog and databases, insert library links into sites like Amazon and Wikipedia, and more. Zotero is a citation manager and bibliography creator that is as easy to use as iTunes. New features such as online storage and shared libraries make Zotero a strong competitor to proprietary software.

This webcast will examine these two powerful browser tools as well as others. By using free, open source tools, libraries can offer assistance and resources with little cost and foster skills that patrons can use throughout life, regardless of location.

If you're interested in seeing how LibX and Zotero can benefit libraries and researchers, join me and ACRL on March 23 at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern. My C&RL News article by (almost) the same title will give you an idea of what I'll be talking about, but the online format gives us a chance for some live demonstration, Q&A and discussion. Also probably some funny pictures of superheroes and my cat. Register here.

(See ACRL's e-learning site for more details)


Zotero development plans

Protecting my money maker

"Protecting my money maker" by jonlesser (not me)

This is a quick post about some tidbits I learned today from one of the Zotero developers. She was able to share with me some of the development plans for the coming year or so:

1. Zotero API to give it interactivity with webapps. (I'm thinking I'd love to be able to save items into Zotero and have them appear in a formatted bibliography in a Libguide. I hope something like that will be possible.) This will start with a bridge between Zotero and the Center for History and New Media's open source web publishing project Omeka.

2. A web-based client, which would do two things: Make the Firefox add-in optional, and allow Zotero use from other browsers!

3. Zotero Commons, a drag-and-drop interface to a scholarly repository hosted by the Internet Archive. I know the least about this one. A friend has already asked me about how they'll address copyright, to which I answer "I have no idea."

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C&RL News article about LibX and Zotero

The February 2010 issue of College and Research Library News includes my article  "Superpower your browser with LibX and Zotero: Open source tools for research." It's an overview of these two research tools and my ideas about how and why they're valuable resources for academic libraries. If you're interested in my March 23 ACRL webcast, this article gives you a good idea of the kind of thing I'll be covering, but of course with live demos and discussion.

Superpower your browser with LibX and Zotero: Open source tools for research via C&RL News