There are many types of software to use to manage research. Two of the most popular are available are EndNote and Refworks and these can be found at a vast majority of HEIs around the world. Both of these products offer a range of features to aid research and they are both used by substantial amount of users around the world.
However, there are also other additional types of software that can be used instead of EndNote or Refworks and one of them is Zotero. Zotero is a product I came across whilst conducting research on information found on American library/information services websites. I was also fortunate to meet a research student who provided a testimonial for Zotero at a conference held at the university where I work. Interestingly enough he used Zotero for the total period of his PhD at Exeter University. He originally used one of the well known and previously mentioned research products but he preferred Zotero and subsequently began to use Zotero when he began his PhD.
Since discovering Zotero I have also been using and evaluating it and I can say that it really is fantastic to use. So why is it so good, why should you try it out and what are its essential features? Well perhaps its key feature is that it is free to use and that it is located in your browser, making it extremely easy to use when conducting searches. However, there are more aspects to it than that and the list of its other key features below demonstrates how useful it is as an aid to managing research – as it can perform the following tasks for any source of information you may discover:
More specifically Zotero will enable you to do all of the following:
- Collect data on books, journals and other resources
- Archive web pages in your library
- Store data in the form such as PDF’s, images and links
- Take notes alongside your items
- Tag items
- Cite in all major styles and with many additional styles freely available
- Drag and drop bibliographies anywhere such as in a blog or an email
There are only a two main drawbacks from to using Zotero and they are the following:
- You have to use Mozilla’s firefox browser
- For additional online storage capacity there is a charge.
Although, these aspects do not seem to be drawbacks in comparison to this products wealth of features they need to be considered. Overall I would encourage anyone to start using Zotero I am sure you will find it a great research product that will save you time and most importantly enable you to always locate the information sources that you discovered during the course of your research.