Browser extension: Zotero
The most difficult part in the research process is keeping track of all of your sources. The traditional methods have been that you print all the pages that you visit, or copy and paste the text from the web sources onto a Word document. However, the problem with those methods is not only are they troublesome but also the chance of misplacing them are greater. Moreover, when you are done with your paper and you have to create citation for each of your sources one-by-one is not only time consuming but also increases factor of human error.
Zotero is a free Mozilla Firefox add-on which makes it easy to organize your sources and searches. It does that by saving the snapshot of the pages and saving the links. The best feature of the add-on is that it automatically creates citation for your saved sources in both APA and MLA format. In addition, since it is fully compatible with both Microsoft Office and Open Office; you can directory copy your citation into those softwares.
Another great feature that I like is that you are able to sync your files with Zotero’s online server. This provides not only sense of security that your files are backed up, but also if you log-in from an alternative computer you can still view all your saved sources. In addition, Zotero allow you to share your source with other people. For that, all you have to do is create a new group, place the files that you want to share and sync. You can send invitation to your group to as many people as you want and they can all view and make changes to your document. This makes group collaboration much easier.
Personally, I’ve been just introduced to Zotero and I love all the user-friendly features that it has to offer. Whenever I am surfing the internet and I come across any article of news that I could use later I simply open Zotero add-on and save a snapshot. In addition, Zotero’s highlight feature comes very handy as well. It allows me to highlight text right from the snapshot so that when I come back to that article I know exactly why I saved it in the original place.
Zotero is still an underdevelopment project. It has a dedicated link on its home page which allows enthusiastic individuals to contribute their new ideas or making improvements. For new user, they have great support page which comprehensively explain all the great features of Zotero.
The only thing that I am on the lookout for is Zotero coming onto different browser platforms. Currently it is only support by Mozilla Firefox but that holds a certain disadvantage against it. In addition, I have noticed in occasional events that the sync features takes longer than usually. This could be due to their storage or the format that they are using.
Overall, I think Zotero is a great free tool for everyone who wants to efficiently save time and sources. I most favorite feature of Zotero is highlight and share. I am sure that the few glitches that Zotero currently has will soon disappear.