Recap: Zotero workshop and plugin recommendations

Recap Zotero workshop

On the 16th of June the Artes Research team joined forces with the research support services from the Faculty of Law to help PhD researchers get started with Zotero, a free online reference manager. The session was a success with an attendance of around 30 researchers, who were all eager to dive into the world of reference management.

We kicked off the workshop with an introduction to the basic functionalities of Zotero. Nele Noppe of the Artes Research team shared her knowledge on the various ways to gather references to a personal Zotero library, gave an in-depth explanation on how to organize a library with tags, folders and collections and zoomed in on several topics such as the integration of Zotero in Word which allows you to create in-text citations, footnotes and bibliographies among other things. Of particular interest was the analysis of Zotero plugins.  Zotero has a very wide range of plugins that add extra functionality and connect Zotero with other software and platforms. As there are numerous plugins, we have made a list of plugin recommendations with a short explanation of their use, which we have included in this post (see below).

This was followed by an introduction to Juris-M by Patrick Allo from the Faculty of Law. Juris-M is a Zotero offshoot with extra features for law research and multilingual bibliographies.

During the next part, the participants had the chance to bring this new information into practice.  Everyone was assigned to a breakout room with a group leader. During the next hour Leah Budke, Nele Noppe, Patrick Allo and Rebecca Burke guided their group through some basic exercises in Zotero.  In preparation for this workshop, the researchers had been asked to gather a few sources to experiment with. These sources were used to test out the functionalities of Zotero, including how to import a reference with the Zotero browser plugin, how to create a bibliography, and more.

If you weren’t able to attend the workshop, you can still consult the documentation provided by Nele Noppe. Her presentation is available on Zenodo here. We also have a few blogposts on how to get started with Zotero. Here you can find part 1 and part 2. Keep an eye out on the blog for future Zotero workshops or check out the Kubic classroom sessions.

Plugin recommendations

Plugin recommendations from Nele Noppe and Patrick Allo 

  • For everyone: ZotFile, which adds all sorts of handy PDF functionality to Zotero. If you notice that a PDF-related feature described in the presentation linked above doesn’t seem to appear in your Zotero, it’s probably because you don’t have ZotFile installed yet. 
  • For those who work with a lot of PDFs that are not searchable because the PDF pages are just images, not text you can select: Zotero OCR, which performs optical character recognition on PDFs to make them searchable. Setup has a number of technical steps, but the instructions are very clear. 
  • If you do your writing in a program that isn’t Microsoft Word: Zotero word processor plugins to cite Zotero items from a range of other programs.  
  • If your writing program isn’t covered by a plugin: First, double-check the list of plugins to make sure there’s nothing that covers your situation. If there’s nothing, you can still use the plugin RTF/ODF Scan for Zotero to create a workaround and connect your favorite writing program with your Zotero library. 
  • For those who currently have a big library of PDFs in a manual folder-based system and want to switch to Zotero: Zotero Folder Import 
  • To quickly start bringing order to a Zotero library: Zotero Storage Scanner looks for missing attachments and duplicate items. 
  • For people who want to use Zotero for note-taking: Better Notes has useful functionality for organizing your notes and visualizing connections between them.
  • For those who want to apply simple but inspiring data visualizations to their Zotero library: Zotero Voyant Export connects Zotero with the Voyant visualization software. 
  • If you work in LaTeX: Better BibTex for Zotero is for you. The plugin also enables integration with some additional writing programs, though we haven’t tested this.  
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