Rave: research tool Zotero

In writing my report (effect of purchasing on quality of health service delivery in Kampot, Cambodia), I came across a useful tool I just have to rave about: Zotero. It’s a citation manager that works out of your Firefox browser which stores, retrieves, organizes, and annotates digital documents. Here’s a list of its main utilities, by Efficient Academic:

  1. Automatic capture of citation information from web pages
  2. Flexible notetaking with autosave
  3. Playlist-like library organization, including saved searches (smart collections) and tags
  4. Runs right in your web browser
  5. Storage of PDFs, files, images, links, and whole web pages
  6. Fast, as-you-type search through your materials
  7. Platform for new forms of digital research that can be extended with other web tools and services
  8. Formatted citation export (style list to grow rapidly)
  9. Free and open source

Zotero integrates seamlessly into MS Word and Open Office (which I now use). Its biggest limitation seems to be, by comments on The Ideophone’s review, is:

…Compared to Endnote (which is proprietary), Zotero is light on citation styles currently. I expect this to change while Zotero builds up a userbase and a community (people will start contributing styles).

Although, at the time of writing, Mark at Ideophone writes that Zotero now supports hundreds of citation styles, with several being added each week; see http://zotero.org/styles/.

And the learning curve is fairly easy, which is good for not-so tech-savvy users (like me) who need a quick way to organise literature searches. A myriad of tutorials are available online, hundreds on YouTube alone.


  1. Hi there, just saw your trackback and wanted to note that Zotero now supports hundreds of citation styles, with several being added each week; see http://zotero.org/styles/ .

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