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