Zotero for Everyone (Free Citation Manager)

David Parry bio photo By David Parry


Zotero is now available to the public. For those who haven’t been following the release, Zotero is free software designed that allows you to collect, manage, and site your references. A couple of things to note before you rush over and download this program. First it is still in Beta which means it has some rough edges, but honestly I have been using it for about a month now and I can say my own personal experience has been great. I tried to get it to crash several times on my Mac an couldn’t, it is, in my experience very stable. The only stability issues I had were when using it on a flashdrive. Second, it is actually a plugin for Firefox, which means that it runs out of your browser as opposed to being its own application like say endnotes or sente. This has many advantages, but means that you will need to download Firefox 2.0 to be able to use Zotero (firefox is also free).

My own personal experience with Zotero is that it has the potential to substantially change the way academics (from undergrads to professors) track and maintain citations, as it is designed to manage information both from the web and in print. It is remarkably easy to use, and beats the functionality of the paid citation managers. It isn’t a whole database notation/information manager like Tinderbox or Devon, but for most people will do the trick. In fact, I am considering scrapping using Bookends and just using Zotero. And as I mentioned above the biggest bonus is that it is free, this means it will be available for all students.