The Internet makes it much easier and faster to research something, but it leaves much to be desired when it comes to efficiency. A web browser's bookmarking capabilities are not enough for organizing the materials you collect. This is where Zotero comes in, with its flexible functionality and wide array of features. The software serves multiple purposes. You can use it to collect information, from the Internet or local folders, organize it and use it in your projects. Furthermore, you can synchronize your data between multiple computers, over the Internet, and share it with other users.
Zotero is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms and it is offered free of charge. It can be found as a standalone application and as a plugin for Mozilla Firefox. If you opt for the standalone version, you can use a series of simple extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari, as well as Word and OpenOffice. The software can be installed in no time, after which you have to create an online account if you want to enjoy Zotero's online services.
The user interface consists of three columns, on which you can create folders and sub-folders, manage their contents or add new ones and view or edit a wide range of details about a selected item. Zotero allows you to manually create or import a vast range of materials, like books, book sections, documents, news or journal articles, web links, emails, maps and much more. It is also possible to attach files, notes or links to existing items.
Zotero's browser plugins can be used to collect new materials with a single click. While visiting a website, a small icon will appear on the address bar, when you access certain pages. Clicking this icon will save a snapshot of the web page in Zotero's database, along with documents, tags or other contents, if they are available. On websites like JSTOR, you can save several pages at once.
With the software's enhanced search capabilities, you can find any stored item or something within that item. It is also possible to set up an advanced search, with various parameters, which can be saved for later use. Once you find what you are looking for, you can click and drag the stored items directly in your project. For example, you can click and drag an attached note over a word processor, to insert the contained text instantly. Additionally, if you click and drag a document or book entry, the software will paste a reference to that item. This is particularly useful if you need to reference a book as your source in a project. Furthermore, if you need to include your entire bibliography, you can right click a folder, on the left side of the interface, and click a button to generate one. Bibliographies can be printed, copied to the clipboard or saved in HTML or rich text format.
If you create an online account, Zotero will synchronize your library between computers, over the Internet, even if the computers use different operating systems. Thus, you can have your research available on a home PC, an office Mac and in any other places, without the need to copy the materials on a portable drive.
Zotero comes with numerous features which make researching much easier. You can collect materials from the Internet with a single click and organize them however you want. The software allows you to insert the collected materials in your project just by clicking and dragging. It can also synchronize your library between different computers.
There are no serious drawbacks to mention. Regardless of your project's complexity or the amount of research you have to do, Zotero will make your life much easier with its flexible and efficient functionality.
Zotero Editor’s Review Rating
Zotero has been reviewed by Frederick Barton on 09 Dec 2013. Based on the user interface, features and complexity, Findmysoft has rated Zotero 5 out of 5 stars, naming it Essential