Today’s assignment in Digital History was an introduction to Zotero citation management. Zotero is freeware that integrates browser and Word plugins to a standalone interface and provides cloud storage. Basically, it’s a hybrid of Evernote and EasyBib that allows direct importation to Word… which already has its own reference management module.
But is it easier than using several platforms for citation management? After the initial learning curve, yes. Of course, keeping all of your research eggs in one basket is always a way to tempt fate. I prefer to backup to several areas as a rule, and Zotero could lull a researcher into a false sense of security.
While playing around with the platform, it is easy to tell that Zotero was designed primarily for electronic sources. Adding physical sources is not nearly as easy. This could be remedied with a mobile app or even laptop camera integration for scanning ISBN barcodes. The inability to easily add hard copy could be problematic for specific types of research.
Zotero is a very solid citation management platform. It does a lot in one place and would be an excellent addition to a Research Methods class. Personally, the lack of an easy way to add physical sources and the fact that I have a system that works well have not convinced me to make the jump to Zotero.