The recent launch of Zotero has been deservedly causing a lot excitement in the world of academic techno early adopters. It shows early promise, and there seems to some serious support behind its development, with a full time developer working on it.
Zotero is a Firefox add-on which is both a bibliographic storage program, and a means for storing notes and web pages. What is particularly exciting about Zotero is that it offers convergence. There are some great separate tools out there for managing references and for managing notes. For academic purposes, my current chosen combination is Endnote for references (though I do despise Endnote for various reasons) and Microsoft Onenote for notes. But Endnote is pretty useless for note taking, and Onenote doesn’t store bibliographic information, and there is no easy way to integrate the two information stores.
The advantage of Zotero is that it sits in your web browser. Now, I don’t visit the library often, and the vast majority of my academic knowledge inputs and research stem from the internet, and the firefox browser is my gateway to this. Zotero supports “scraping” of references – automatically capturing reference information from a variety of growing academic web databases, as well as allowing you to easily capture web pages (like online articles), and associating notes and web pages with references. It has lots of goodies like search-as-you-type, import and export to endnote and the like, and tagging support. The roadmap for Zotero suggests that will offer functionality that will eventually compete with online reference management tools like cite-u-like.
Personally, I am not diving fully into it until they have full support for storing abstracts of references (which should have soon I hope), but I have high hopes for this tool.
Oh, did I mention its free, open source, and based entirely around open standards?