Zotero - the time-saving, reference managing, and all-round awesome research collaboration tool
Ihave worked with multiple different research groups over the years and we continue to keep running into the same issue - how can we easily share research documents with one another?
For me, my solution has been to use a very handy tool called Zotero and in this post, I will introduce you to setting it up to manage your personal research and how to use zotero.org to share findings with your team. Buckle up!
But, Why Zotero?
After reviewing reference management tools like EndNote and Mendeley, I came to the conclusion that they are either
Locks you into their app and software ecosystem
Not easy to share cross platform
Whereas Zotero is free, open-source, and is available for Windows, OSX, and Linux!
Setting Up Zotero
Here is the step-by-step on how to set-up Zotero:
- Navigate to zotero.org and click the button that says, “Download” and then install it for your appropriate system.
Once you have finished making an account, open Zotero and add in the credentials you made on the website by clicking Edit>Preferences>Sync.
ZotFile - Super Powers for Zotero (and You!)
Once you have installed Zotero, we are now going to give it super powers to automatically extract the important information from a paper and save it into Zotero.
Install ZotFile from their website. This will download a .xpi file on your computer.
Install ZotFile into Zotero by going to Tools>Select>Add-ons. In the menu that shows up, click the gear icon and click “Install Add-on from File”.
Select the .xpi you downloaded and install it.
ZotFile also allows you to extract comments and annotations from a PDF that you work on later. To do this, right click a file that you have annotated and uploaded to Zotero. Under “Manage Attachments”, click “Extract Annotations”. Wait for a moment and you should see your annotations pop up under your entry in Zotero as a note file!
Zotero for Teams
Communicating files to your team members is easy with Zotero Sync! Here is how to do it:
Go back to zotero.org and login to your profile. Click where the layout says “Groups”.
Here you can easily create a new group be clicking “Create a New Group” - once you do this, you can create a group with specific permissions; it is up to you to decide!
Once inside your group, you can add members via their email or Zotero username and add in findings you wish to share with your group.
You can also add documents within Zotero to share with your group. Open Zotero and wait for Zotero to sync. You should see a new list pop-up called “Group Libraries” with your newly made group. Drop in whatever files you wish and your team should see the file pop up on their Zotero accounts after sync is complete!
Thanks for following along on the tutorial! Hopefully that got you started with Zotero and you can now start using it to manage your research and amongst teams.
If you want to take a deeper dive into Zotero and personal research management, I recommend you check out my article about it!
If anything is confusing or could be improved upon or if you just want to say hey, please drop me a comment below or contact me!