Using Zotero to automate documentary research

Thursday, 1 June, 2017 - 14:30

Zotero is an Open Source digital research platform developed by the Centre for History and New Media at George Mason University. The software and documentation, including video tutorials, are available at Zotero is a powerful tool for gathering, analysing and sharing research materials of all kinds, and it has been specifically developed to help scholars keep control of digital materials that can be found online.

This workshop will be much more useful if you have completed the following:

  • Download and install the standalone version of Zotero on your own laptop (the Firefox extension is being discontinued in version 5, which is available for downloading here.) 

  • Install the browser extension for your preferred browser, also from the Zotero download page.

  • Setup an account on the Zotero servers (this will allow you to sync your data to the Zotero cloud, and to share with other researchers).

To recap, the key features of Zotero include:

  • The ability to automatically harvest references from libraries, newspapers and online catalogues (including the South African National Archives repository)
  • Full text harvesting and indexing of pdf files
  • Automated extraction of annotations and highlights from PDF files
  • Document types (like video, letter, manuscript) that match the research materials of humanities researchers
  • Tagging, search and infinite rich text annotation for note taking
  • Automated synchronisation and backup of data in the Internet Cloud
  • Very powerful collaboration amongst researchers