If you’re like me, your bookmarks folder can get out of control pretty quickly. Especially if you read a lot of long articles on specialized web sites, you can lose track of topics you’re researching if you have to rely on bookmarks.
Zotero, a new Firefox extension developed for academic research is a convenient and easy way to collect and organize sources you find online. As the developers say, it “lives right where you work.” That is, it provides a simple UI to a XML database of citations as an add on to Firefox. When you find a source you want to capture, you pop it open from the status bar and plug in a reference to it. The best part has to be the automatic recognition of metadata. Zotero knows when it sees certain kinds of metadata information in web pages, and can derive a full citation for web pages and books and articles presented on web pages.
If you find a new book on Amazon (or most academic library catalogs) or if you find an interesting article in a newspaper, journal or through G Scholar (and many academic indexes), Zotero will present a small icon in the address bar. Click and its already in your database of citations. Zotero knows SFX interlinks too, so if you are using academic indexes that allow you to download citation lists from your search results to Endnote or similar software, Zotero can automatically eat them and load them in your database. Citations can be organized by folder or with tags.