I am not sure if I believe in New Year’s resolutions. “Why make a promise that you can’t keep?” has always been my thought. However, I do believe it is important to work towards being a better student, as there is always room for improvement – especially in the citation department. I have never met anyone who enjoys creating a bibliography (but if you do, then this is a marketable skill with potentially lucrative ends). Bibliographies are a necessary evil of academia, and a giant pain in the ass, unless you market this skill. Nowadays there are plenty of online generators, one of which is Zotero.
Zotero is a free online program that allows you to collect, organize, cite, and share all your research resources. Zotero acts as your personal research assistant, and allows you to add sources to your personal library including PDFs, images, audio and video files, screen shots and more. From there, your information is organized into collections and sub-collections instead of folders. It is also possible to create smart collections that will automatically sort materials you add to your library. Tags can also be added, allowing you to filter by these tags and quickly and easily retrieve the relevant articles for any one project.
Zotero will also create your citations for you, from footnotes to endnotes, to in-text citations and bibliographies. Zotero will even create citations within Word and OpenOffice. You can also add citations to emails, GoogleDocs, and others. Zotero also operates across numerous devices, and if you get a new computer it is painless to transfer over.
Zotero is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and is completely free. If you are one of those students who struggles with bibliographies and citations give Zotero a try. What have you got to lose? Good luck with 2017.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 16, January 4, 2017.