Most people researching in humanities-related fields are, I hope, aware of Zotero. If you’re not yet familiar with Zotero, a.) you should be, and b.) it’s a Firefox extension that collects, stores, manages, and organizes research sources. It was developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.  Using Zotero, one can store documents and images, organize project folders, and easily create bibliographies in most citation styles all within a browser. Along with a local citation library, if logged in, ones library syncs on multiple machines and with the Zotero website, automatically backing up the bibliography. Though it’s limited to Firefox at the moment, a standalone Zotero is in the works.

Zotero in Firefox

Some time ago, Zotero opened up the option for users to share their libraries. Mark Sample has, many months past, deftly explained the reasons some scholars are hesitant to share their research and why they are wrong, so I’ll not add anything to that.

To create my own Zotero feed I followed his methods (finding the Zotero to WordPress plugin unworkable) with the addition of my Delicious bookmarks as well. Since much of my online time is spent at work, I cannot install the Zotero plugin, but Delicious fills in nicely. Though it fills a different, less-academically oriented purpose, a feed of my Delicious bookmarks is an appropriate addition to a Zotero feed.

This is how I arranged my Pipe:

Much of what I save in Delicious isn’t too terribly interesting–YouTube videos that are blocked by the filter at work (that explains the Denied Access filter, it’s not that devious), recipes, etc.) so I tried to omit those from the feed. My hope is that by sharing what I am encountering online, others (through this site or in Zotero’s proper libraries) may find something to help their research or find a new topic of inquiry.

Another new widget is a feed from Last.fm, which displays songs I have recently played that will, no doubt, make me more self-conscious of what I choose to hear.

The prospect of having a permanent record of my sites of research without boxes and stacks of paper cluttering my workspace is exciting and liberating. No longer will I feel compelled to print that interesting but not-at-the-moment useful article–I can just save it in my Zotero library for later. I have not discussed Zotero’s ability to create bibliographies much, but a wonderful tutorial written by Jason Puckett is found here.

Both Zotero and Delicious are bound to improve their capabilities and make scholarly exploits more organized. How have you used Zotero or Delicious in your research?