Oh the insanity of bibliographic services. After a personal referral, I decided to try Zotero. I downloaded the product and watched at minimum an hour of ‘how-to’ videos. I can say that I found duplicating the videos in a trial and error fashion has not been very successful for me. The question on everyone’s mind is.. (or should be).. program error or user error?
Issues: The citation process is full of errors. I decided to hand enter my citation details for easier integration into MS Word later. However, there are not appropriate fields to cover the information required in a proper MLA citation.
In addition, I found that Zotero does not support items from EBSCOhost. This is extremely unfortunate, because that is one of the main databases I use. However, There is a workaround method (see that last link below) and that seems to be working nicely so far!
Benefits: On the upside, I enjoy the tags (keywords?) and find the notes section very useful. I also find organizing my linked articles by folders and sub-folders is very useful. Now, I am willing to admit to a certain degree of user error. And for those of you like me, here are some very helpful how-to links:
After watching the provided link Exporting citations from EBSCO databases into Zotero, I have finally figured out how to get better use out of Zotero. It is an oddly complicated process, but it does work! Here is a key item to remember: when you add an EBSCOhost document into Zotero, you will have to go into Zotero and manually redirect the URL, otherwise you will not be able to retrieve it easily (<
Also, without using valuable free storage space (yes call me a cheapskate), I have created a folder on my desktop labeled thesis articles, and I have linked those pdf files successfully into Zotero as well! For your reference, I have added a screen shot of how I have organized my ‘train of thought’ breakdown (thus far) for my thesis topic into folders and sub-folders. The best part is that the items saved into my Zotero account (both URL links and pdf files) can also be saved across multiple folders. For example, the article on ‘New School’ is saved under collaboration, cross-culture, non-technology, and using technology. This is helpful when I need to reference items that are specific in content, as I can just refer to my sub-folder organization system.
I took a second screen shot to show you how I am using the “Tags” feature to organize content by keyword. Some items pre-populate and others I simply type in myself.
All in all, I rate Zotero a 3.5 out of 5 (as I still have to hand-enter so much), but since I must admit to a large degree of user error and an apparent learning curve on my part, this may be unfairly low.