Zotero 2.0

[This post originally appeared in the blog hist.net.]

zotero-smZotero 2.0 became available for public download on May 14. This new version of Zotero provides many exciting features that unlock the research archives of individual scholars making those research archives (or portions of those archives) available for a wider audience. Think about it this way. In what my students like to call the “olden times” (anything before 2000), scholars collected materials into their personal research archives then sat down and wrote a book, an article, or a conference paper. That publication provided the scholar’s audience with a glimpse into the source materials he or she had collected from various archives, libraries, etc. But only a glimpse, and mostly in the footnotes. If you wanted access to those same sources, you had to replicate the research already completed by the author of what you were reading.

Zotero 2.0 potentially puts an end to this re-research process. Now, a scholar can make any portion of that personal research archive available online via Zotero’s collaborative capabilities. So, for instance, as I collect materials for an article I am perparing for a volume of essays on “getaways” in communist Eastern Europe, I can make my Zotero folders available to anyone or just my collaborators in the volume. Once the book is published, I can choose whether or not to make my sources available to those readers who want to work with the sources I collected. In this way, the “hidden archive” of scholarship will begin to migrate to the surface. The potential for transformation of scholarly work is, I think, quite significant.

Zotero 2.0 also taps into the potentialities of social networking for scholars. Once logged in to the Zotero server, one can create a personal profile page, create or join affinity groups, and track (“follow”) the work of others who are part of the Zotero community. For a brief summary of the features of Zotero 2.0, read what Dan Cohen, Director of the Center for History and New Media, has written (and will continue to write) in his blog.

2 thoughts on “Zotero 2.0

  1. Maia Bittner

    Have you checked out Archivd? It has a really good metadata extraction process that I’ve found to be very helpful when I’m doing research. [Please note: The author of this comment is in charge of “Sales and Cool Stuff” at achivd.com and so this comment should be read as stealth marketing, rather than the helpful comment it appears to be. Hence, I unlinked it, but left it up for others to see how stealth marketing works…M.]

  2. Larry Cebula

    How long before we get the first high-profile case of someone accusing someone else of having stolen his research idea after looking at the information that he posted on Zotero? How long before we get out first marriage of two scholars who met via Zotero? And when will the first new school of history that arose on Zotero sweep into being and upset some historiographic apple carts?

    This is going to be fun to watch.

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