Recent posts

Zotero Makes the New York Times

less than 1 minute read

Today Olivia Judson features Zotero in her excellent science blog, The Wild Side. In a generally positive review Judson points to Zotero’s ease of use and ability to grab metadata from a variety of sources. Fortunately for Zoterons, the features that Judson finds lacking in Zotero are already present in either the current 1.0.7 release (integration with research databases like JSTOR, PubMed, Web of Science) or in the 1.5 Sync Preview (automatic association of PDF metadata). In the notes accompanying her post, Judson draws attention to the growing problem of siloed data, with academic research increasingly housed in subscription databases. In attempting to address this important problem, I would note that we are far ahead of any competing software, offering...

Zotero Website Overhauled

less than 1 minute read

Notice anything different? Aside from the addition of “Login” and “Register” links to the upper right corner of the Zotero site, you might not detect many changes. The most visible difference is new unified login functionality to support the site’s various functional modules. Users can also now use an OpenID account to authenticate with the Zotero site. Beneath the surface, the guts have been been entirely reworked. Zotero’s web application team, led by Jon Lesser, has created a streamlined new architecture designed to support the vast array of innovative, web-based functionality that we will begin to roll out to users beginning this month. Stay tuned!

GMU Responds to Thomson Reuters Lawsuit

1 minute read

The full press release can be found at the university’s media relations site, but the upshot is that George Mason University has formulated a strong response that includes dropping its EndNote license and retaining the Zotero project’s contested EndNote compatibility feature. This functionality allows users to read their own EndNote styles (.ens files) and has been reenabled in Zotero’s public testing program this week. At the same time, our crack team of developers continues its breakneck pace of providing exciting new features. The latest preview release of Zotero includes: Free and automatic backup and synchronization of your library data on Zotero’s servers: for example, you can sync your PC at work with your Mac laptop and your Linux desktop at...

Digital Scholarship: Ha-Ha Funny or Just Funny?

4 minute read

In a recent New York Review of Books piece, “The Library in the New Age”, Robert Darnton offers his thoughts on the research library in the digital age. Darnton argues persuasively against any real displacement of traditional media by digital resources, suggesting instead that these two should complement each other rather than converge. As a historian who relies almost exclusively on printed and handwritten materials that stand little chance of seeing a scanner anytime soon, I sympathize with Darnton’s position. And Darnton’s elucidation of his chief concern, that of textual stability, is well informed by his expertise in the history of print, especially of the underground kind. But Darnton’s otherwise cogent argument is undercut by his general distrust of digital...

The Semantic Web, circa 1934

2 minute read

The Times has a great story today by Alex Wright on Paul Otlet’s early efforts to create a network of the information akin to today’s Web. In spite of bloviating along the lines of “The hyperlink is one of the most underappreciated inventions of the last century” (Kelvin Kelly, quoted for the article, apparently both asleep during the technology boom and never having read his own magazine, Wired), Wright’s piece treats Otlet’s work surprisingly fairly and is sensitive to the promise and limits of his analog approach. On the delivery side, Otlet imagined amalgamating the cutting-edge media technology of the day: telephone, radio, television. The glue for all this data would be the laborious human-directed cataloging and organization of information....