Standing in the kitchen at the Zotero party

It’s a shame that Zotero came towards the end of 23 Things, where life around me seems to be operating at breakneck pace and my holiday means I’m playing catch up and desperately trying not to fall too far behind. Zotero warranted a lot more of my attention than I have been able to give it this week. I don’t really need to say much about Zotero, obviously it’s very good. I was impressed with all the help available on the quick start guide and the video. It was easy to install and I tested it with a Newton and JSTOR search, no problem. I have followed with interest the discussions of Zotero and Mendeley over in the comments of both Girl in the Moon’s blog and the marvellous Miss Crail’s ruminations (if you haven’t already seen them then you really should have a look, very informative).

While working on Thing 18, though, I have had the nagging feeling that there’s a whole party going on and I’m standing in the kitchen, clutching a tepid glass of something, with lots of interesting conversations going on around me that I can’t join because I’m not quite sure what they’re talking about. Any minute now, I’ll have to get my phone out to fiddle about with it so that I feel less awkward.

I know very little about reference management systems like Zotero because I haven’t really needed to compile a bibliography for anything since the turn of the millennium (I’m another one who kept bibliographical information on index cards for dissertations) and I haven’t worked in a user-facing library post for 4 years. Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about them even in my last post which was very much user-facing. And I feel I should know, because I’m a librarian and this is precisely the kind of area where librarians have so much to offer their users. Librarians can help with queries, resolving problems, suggesting solutions, training and supporting the use of tools like Zotero (and Mendeley and the others that I also know very little about but hear about on the reference/citation party grapevine). It’s part of the value-added service that librarians could and should (and in many many cases do) offer.

I hope to have more time in the near future to look at Zotero more closely and might even have a project for which it would be useful. For now, though, you’ll have to excuse me, I need to just reply to a text message.


4 comments so far

  1. Girl in the Moon on

    What a lovely post! That party metaphor neatly sums out my feelings about most of this Web 2.0 business at the start of 23 Things. I’ve only leapt headlong into this Zotero party because I suddenly find a need for it, but I still feel like I’ll realise at any second that I’m still talking but all the people I was talking too have wandered off to that more interesting bit of party out in the garden…

  2. Céline on

    Oh the real party’s always in the garden isn’t it?

    Thanks. I think the key with Zotero is you can’t really play with it in a purposeless manner, to really try it out you actually need to have a task that needs to be completed (as you have, must talk to you about that some time, curious to know which journal it is…)

  3. Sarah Burton on

    Oh wow did that title make me laugh. I’m always in the kitchen at parties!

  4. Sarah Stamford on

    I really liked your post, and the comments.

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