Zotero is a Firefox add-on that, within the browser, can capture academic citations from Google Scholar, many library catalogues and multiple other sources. It permits you to insert links to the pdfs (both external and on your own directory) and go to them within the browser, to add your own cross-reference tags and notes. I began experimenting with it yesterday and have very quickly organized a lot of my references. It even appears to be WordPress compatible. It looks like this is a fantastic way of placing a bibliography online, which I anticipate doing at some point. I urge people who, like me, suffer from the chore of reference management to explore this tool


  1. Posted May 19, 2008 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    Is there any similar widget for Opera? I won’t quit opera since I have some useful widget which cannot be found in fire-fox add-on

  2. Posted May 19, 2008 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    Zotero is a great solution. I’ve used it to streamline multiple PDF downloads from Jstor and sites like that.

    Though if you have some money to burn I’d recommend EndNote by Thomson, as it offers a more comprehensive set of features. Moreover it also includes a Firefox extension which allows you to cite web references relatively easily…

    On the other hand, being that Zotero is free, and is likely to be updated regularly.. it may in the long run prove better than EndNote.


  3. Posted May 19, 2008 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

    thanks steve,
    it helps, now I can surf the net even more easier.

  4. Louis Hissink
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    Makes a mere microsoftie like me wonder what M$ has…….

  5. PabloM
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Evernote works well too. I use this save notes on work I have done and difficult to remember command lines. But you can clip things from websites too.

    But if you are focused on web research, I think Zotero is great.

  6. Posted May 19, 2008 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Zotero is definitely great for online research collection. I use that for saving links and references online, and I use NoteScribe off-line to compile my notes and data. Great combination!


  7. Mhaze
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Zotero auto gets biblio refs, which is quite nice. Stable on my systems so far.

    Also consider firefox plug in Scrapbook, and the standalone application Evernote.

    All very differing programs.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    The retrieval of biblio refs is what I particularly like. Because Google Scholar has biblio refs on so many articles, with judicious use of Google Scholar, one can quickly create relevant biblio lists to clip into the Zotero directory. It’s far more than a record of web activity. Google Scholar and other online biblios makes it a great tool for organizing conventional biblios.

  9. Dharma Hunter
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Steve,

    Looks interesting and useful. I probably wont use it for my main research (2500 refs with ~1000 pdfs in EndNote with links to supplementary data). But, for the climate papers (hobby), it looks great.


  10. chopbox
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Minor Blog Issues not intended to stay on blog (please delete):
    1. Steve, I tried to send this to you directly by clicking on your hyperlinked name in one of the posts above, but the link is broken. Maybe you don’t want personal emails this way, and if so ok, but I suspect you’d like this fixed.
    2. Under MBH98 in the Left column, there are a bunch of Ross McKitrick entries, but they are all the same. Some copy and paste gone wrong, methinks.

  11. Mhaze
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Worth noting that currently Zotero 1.04 which does work with Firefox 3 must be had not from mozilla.org but http://www.zotero.org – also manual is there.

  12. Posted May 28, 2008 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the add-on..I’ll download it today.

  13. WA
    Posted Jul 9, 2008 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steve McIntyre,

    Re: Using Zotero. This note identifies a problem and a potential partial solution. Perhaps you might share an insight on how to solve the “partial” problem.

    The objective is to track claims of AGW supporters compared to the evidence of those who dissent.

    The problem lies in relating multiple support claims within one item to dissenting evidence in one or more other items. A simple entry of “Related” Title to Title would not be specific.

    The potential solution is to create Notes within each Title that briefly identify an issue, the substance of the claim or dissent, and perhaps a page number or internal reference within the Title. Each Note is then tagged “Support” or “Dissent”, and one Note is Related to the other Note. Zotero currently supports this approach.

    The partial problems with the solution are:

    I can’t figure out how to report the Notes with the Titles.
    I don’t know how to delete a “Related” entry made on a Note in error.

    I have used Zotero since you clued me to it. There are 280 folders (Titles). I submitted a request to Zotero, but nothing happened, since I expressed it as a logical diagram. Perhaps I should try again with my “problem” questions.


  14. Posted Jun 8, 2009 at 4:22 AM | Permalink

    The add-on is very useful, thanks.

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