The following is a set of links that will be useful for those trying to set up Zotero on their computers. (Not sure what Zotero is or why you would want it? Check out their site, and don’t miss the demo video).
- Firefox Web Browser. Zotero runs as a plugin within this excellent browser.
- The Zotero Plugin. There are two options here. Pick one of the following:
- Zotero 2.0 Beta (recommended). This is the latest release. It is Beta software, which means you may experience bugs. But I have been using this release for sometime and have not experienced any problems. There are several advantages of this release: online syncing (though see below), rich-text editor, more functionality. Create an account online to store your Zotero database here.
- Zotero Version 1.0. This is the “safe” option, but you loose some functionality, and I have not had any problems with the “cutting-edge” version above. This version will be upgraded soon, so whichever option you pick will be fine in the long term.
- Demo Video
- Tour of Features
- Quick Start Guide
- Dan Cohen’s Blog often has good Zotero-related news
- As does my blog.
- Plugins for Microsoft Word or OpenOffice
- If you chose the Beta version, go here and follow the instructions.
This now runs as a browser plugin, which installs the Word Processor integration utility automatically. Smooth and easy.
- If you downloaded the regular 1.0 version, go here and follow the instructions.
- Customized Bibliography Styles. Zotero comes with a wide variety of default styles, including Chicago. But if there is a specific style that you need, check out this link to see if it is available. Researchers in Biblical Studies might be particularly interested in the SBL Style. Just click and Zotero will install everything for you.
- Use the Sync Preview release (above). It will securely back up and sync all your information and notes online, which can be accessed here. It does not backup stored files or PDFs, however; only text.
- If you are computer savvy, you can set up a WebDAV server to store and sync your entire Zotero database. This is like option (1) but also stores PDFs and other files. Check out this forum for suggestions.
- Use Dropbox. This is the best possible solution. Install Dropbox and then open your Zotero preferences dialog. Go to the Advanced tab, then place your Zotero database in a custom location: your “My Dropbox” folder. Now anytime a change is made the Dropbox software will upload it in real-time. You can also use this to sync your Zotero database accross multiple computers, and it includes all your files (movies, PDFs, images, etc). Your data is encrypted on Dropbox’s servers, so you don’t have to worry about security concerns.
- Update: I should mention one issue I have had with the Dropbox solution. Dropbox cannot save open files, which means it will not upload or download your Zotero database until you close Firefox. If you are syncing your Zotero database across two computers, be aware of this limitation. Make sure you close Firefox on both computers, and that Dropbox has finished syncing all the data, before you switch workstations. Dropbox does save conflicting copies of files, so your data should ultimately be safe, but it may be a lot of work to recover it.
Update: This post was modified from the original on Sept. 17 2009 to bring it in line with the current status of the Zotero project.