cpd23. Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / citeulike
23 Things for Professional Development, cpd23, is up to Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / citeulike. In other words, citation managers. Thing 14 is about three different tools that can be used to manage references and sources.
I’ve heard of all of three of these and even played with them. I was unimpressed. They were buggy and awkward. But that was three or four years ago. It’s definitely time to revisit this. I’m not working in a library right now, but, obviously, I’m reading books. And, hopefully not so obviously, losing track of them. Of course, like most modern curious human beings, I also visit a lot of websites and read a lot of articles and could use more sophisticated ways of keeping track of them. Evernote has been helping some, but it looks like a special purpose tool like Zotero might be better.
So, here goes.
Step one. Get Firefox. I’ve used the Firefox web browser in the past. Then, Internet Explorer got tabs so when I got a new computer, I didn’t bother to download Firefox. Recently, I’ve been using Google Chrome for the advertised speed, but, lately, it doesn’t seem that speedy. So, why not circle back to Firefox? Downloading Firefox. I could get really off track here and explore all the things that have changed about Firefox since I used it last. It’s prettier and shinier than I remembered.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, Zotero. The Zotero website describes the program as “A personal research assistant.” That’s exactly what I need. The add-on downloads easily and requires a restart of Firefox to be functional. This takes me onto another distracting path with Firefox, but I eventually get back to Zotero.
For awhile it seems Zotero isn’t working but then I figure out that it apparently doesn’t have a “translator” for Goodreads. That’s disappointing. Switch to Amazon. Oh, cool. One click on the symbol on the address bar and I have a new book added. Try the public library’s catalog — another click and another book goes in. This is fun. Now, with two books, I create a new collection in Zotero. Voila! A To Be Read list that doesn’t reside solely in my head. I’m about to be the most organized book blogger on the planet. Thanks cpd23 and Zotero!
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I am one of the founders of Docear, which is a new software for organizing, creating, and discovering academic literature. Today, we released version 1.0 of Docear after a ~2 year beta phase. If you are interested in reference management, you might want to have a look at Docear. The three most distinct features of Docear are:
1. A single-section user-interface that differs significantly from the interfaces you know from Zotero, JabRef, Mendeley, Endnote, … and that allows a more comprehensive organization of your electronic literature (PDFs) and the annotations you created (i.e highlighted text, comments, and bookmarks).
2. A ‘literature suite concept’ that allows you to draft and write your own assignments, papers, theses, books, etc. based on the annotations you previously created.
3. A research paper recommender system that allows you to discover new academic literature.
And Docear is free and open source and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. More information can be found in our Blog, including a detailed explanation of what makes Docear superior to Mendeley, Zotero, etc. (at least in our opinion 🙂 ). http://www.docear.org/2013/10/17/docear-1-0-stable-a-new-video-new-manual-new-homepage-new-details-page/
If you don’t like reading, there is also a 6 minute introduction video on our homepage http://www.docear.org 😉
In case you are using a BibTeX based reference manager such as JabRef (and you don’t want to use Docear), you might still be interested in Docear4Word http://www.docear.org/software/add-ons/docear4word/overview/. Docear4Word allows you to insert references and bibliographies from BibTeX files to MS-Word documents. Hence, it makes writing papers much easier, since e.g. JabRef has no own MS Word add-on.
Finally, I would like to point you to a recent Blog post I wrote about what makes an evil reference manager. Maybe the post helps you deciding which reference manager to use (even if it’s not Docear). http://www.docear.org/2013/10/14/what-makes-a-really-really-bad-reference-manager/